Thursday, August 27, 2009

KRA CRSP (Scribd)

Here is a link to the KRA Current Retail Selling Prices list that's used to calculate duty on motor vehicle imports into Kenya.

This is from April 2008, dont know how much its been updated since. I got it in January or February 2009.

There's a snafu on the BMW section but I'm told BMW CRSPs changed drastically with Bavaria Motors entry into the Kenyan market so probably best calling KRA for those.

I posted this because I find it stupid to keep the list a secret. KRA would have people believe that duty is charged based on CIF (cost, insurance, freight) of a vehicle to Mombasa. I have found that this is often a falsehood. I have also found that in many cases, duty calculated based on CIF is lower than that calculated using devalued CRSP, especially for newer vehicles.

To calculate duty, take the value of the vehicle you have in mind to import from the CRSP list and plug it into the Duty Valuation Template which is downloadable from KRA website here. The duty valuation template is pretty straightforward and shows what to key in based on age and type of vehicle. The spreadsheet should give you an idea of what your duty payable will be.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Where is Personal Responsibility in Kenya?

Yesterday evening, I watched an interview with Samuel Kivuitu (ex-head of our discredited ECK). He was speaking about how Kibaki and Raila did not send him off with the respect and dignity he felt he deserved. At the same time, he also spoke about how he unfortunately fell ill prior to the elections and shady business may have been conducted by some of his commissioners who "took advantage of his ill health" and his inability to watch over them as he would have wanted to, to cause mischief with the electoral process.


Samuel Kivuitu seemingly takes no responsibility for any of the irregularities and the manner in which the election was managed (so poorly that it almost plunged the country into civil war). Infact, Samuel Kivuitu wants to be hailed as a hero despite all these things, afterall Samuel Kivuitu was sick and not able to properly do his job!

If Samuel Kivuitu was unable to properly carry out the work for which we, the taxpayers were offering him a healthy remuneration, then Samuel Kivuitu should have quit. As long as he stayed in the job, I do not care one bit if he was sick or his wife was sick or his mother died or whatever other sob story he wants to offer us...he has to do the job he is paid for..otherwise he has to step aside. To fail so miserably at his job, then stay in the media whinging about this, that and the other leaves a very very bad taste in my mouth.

But Kivuitu is not alone in suffering from this disease, Infact, I fear that the disease is becoming the norm rather than the exception in our society.

The disease in question is the refusal to accept the consequences of one's actions.

In modern day Kenya, nobody is ever at fault for anything, nobody ever takes responsibility for anything. Salesmen are ill-prepared, sullen and rude yet bemoan life when they don't make any sales, ministers act arrogant then bemoan the media when the media turns on them, retailers sell poor products then cry when customers stop coming... Everything is everyone else's fault. Nothing is 'my' fault.

Things go wrong in life, people make mistakes. What makes a person great is not living a mistake-free life, but rather how one reacts to the missteps they make.

Do you own your errors and misjudgements? Do you accept the consequences of your actions?

I believe most people would answer 'yes' but the sad truth in modern day Kenya is more likely than not a firm 'NO'.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Corruption: Disease or Symptom?

We are always hearing about 'The Fight Against Corruption'. Every public sector office we go to these days is guaranteed to have at least two or three "Fight Corruption" or "Corruption is Evil" posters prominently displayed around the place. Any current affairs television talk show invariably talks about the subject. Wananchi complain that government is too corrupt, government retorts that corruption is a two way transaction and for every corrupt officer, there is a corrupt citizen willing to bribe to get ahead.

I appreciate that we should be talking about corruption and we should be working very hard to tackle corruption however I think that in most cases, corruption is just the last step in the chain of what afflicts us in this country. Corruption is in many ways a symptom of a couple of systemic problems which I believe if fixed would eliminate the majority of corruption.

1. Inefficiency
I once imported a certain car for sale. I followed all the procedures exactly as they are spelled out to get the car registered. Within a week of the car arriving in Nairobi, I had agreed the sale of the car on condition that I could show the prospective buyer the logbook of the car. The logbook took 5 weeks to arrive!! 5 weeks of chasing KRA, "kuja next week", "angalia Monday", "mwenye kusign akoinje" etc etc. Obviously I lost the sale. The prospective buyer got tired of waiting and bought another vehicle from somebody else that did have a logbook. It ended up taking me about 3 months to sell the vehicle. At a significantly lower price than I had agreed with the first buyer. Infact by the time the logbook arrived, car registrations had moved forward (from KBD to KBE) which further weakened my negotiating position.

For Kshs 2-3000, I could have had the logbook 'pushed' and had it within a week. My profit would have been higher and I would have been able to reinvest the funds to import another car. GoK would have collected more tax and I would have earned more for the period.

Inefficiency literally took money out of my pocket, food out of my stomach and funds away from the exchequer!

Given a choice between bribing and starving, the vast majority of human beings will pay a bribe everytime no matter how many "Corruption is Evil" posters are hanging about the place. Inefficiency is like a noose around the neck of any business that has to deal with GoK for its operations. It strangles the life out of businesses.

2. Secret/Complex/Convoluted Processes and Procedures, No accountability
Coupled with inefficiency, having overly, unnecessarily complex, convoluted and secret processes and procedures contributes greatly to allowing corruption to take place and thrive.

Suppose I knew the exact steps my logbook goes through before it is dispatched to me. Now, suppose I also knew which officer is in charge at every step of the way and knew how long each step is supposed to take. Suppose I was provided with the contacts of the officer whose duty it is to oversee the whole process..and his superior and their superior and so on right to the very top of the organisation. The knowledge would empower the public to know exactly how long the process will take and who to contact when things go wrong.

Currently any queries directed at public sector about items being processed yields vague explanations. I remember being told my new passport was ready, going over to Nyayo House and being told that whereas it was indeed ready "bado haijateremka".

In the absence of having systems and processes the public has maximum confidence in; and in light of the corruption problem we have, I believe that we need to radically simplify our processes and procedures AND publicize them.

Fighting corruption in isolation and trying to appeal to our sense of honour with emotional campaigns will not in itself get us any closer to eradicating the problem. We have to reform our systems and processes to ensure that wananchi understand the processes and are getting speedy and efficient service.

Let us carefully examine all our systems and processes, remove unnecessary steps, enable the public to access ALL relevant information about the process and I can all but guarantee there will be a significant fall in corruption.

Because officers have profited from corruption for so long, they are often going to be resistant to changes that enhance efficiency of the system (which would close their earning avenues). This means that the changes have to come from the top. It actually offends me when someone like MG Waweru (CG of KRA) says that 'the public is also at fault for corruption'. Technically it's true, but he needs to be looking at the systems and procedures in place at the organization he heads because his corrupt officer and I might be cogs in the wheel of corruption but the problem starts and ends with the system.

Corruption thrives in the dark, away from scrutiny and in complex, inefficient and convoluted systems. Once we eliminate its natural habitat, corruption will die.