In Summary:

  • Central Banks shows the value of goods coming to the country. 
  • See why china remains the county’s top source of imports. 
  • Increase of corruption at the port declines the imports. 

The value of Kenya’s imports may rise to Sh1.73 trillion should the appetite for imports persist to the end of the year.

Data by the Central Bank of Kenya shows the value of goods coming into the country rose by Sh215.89 billion or 22.96 per cent to Sh1.16 trillion in the January to August period compared to Sh940.18 billion reported in the same period last year.

Since landing the lucrative Standard Gauge Railway deal, China has remained the country’s top source of imports due to increased need for infrastructure materials followed by India.

“Machinery and other capital equipment, fuel and lubricants and transport constituted 18.4, 14.6 and 12.5 per cent of total value of imports respectively,” Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said in its August report.

Foods and beverages also contributed to the import bill at 16.8 per cent. This has largely been driven by the government’s decision to exempt maize, sugar and milk powder imports from taxation since May.

The three month tax exemption, which was aimed at cushioning Kenyans from skyrocketing commodity prices owing to the prolonged drought, was further extended in the beginning of October.

Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association chairman William Ojonyo however said given the current political situation, imports are likely to drop significantly.

“Since the Supreme Court ruling on September 1, we have witnessed a negative serious decline the number of imports. Importers have not been bringing in goods and even for those who do, we have seen their goods taking longer at the port,” Ojonyo said.

CBK data shows that the value of imports declined by Sh21.28 billion or 12.85 per cent in August to Sh144.3 billion compared to Sh165.57 billion reported in July.

Besides the decline in imports, there has been an increase in corruption at the port, he said.

“Customs officers do not have control of customs procedures. The corruption index has jumped by at least 80 per cent due to poor governance at the port,” Ojonyo said. He said cargo had been attracting additional costs in the name of extra storage because of slow movement.

The CBK data shows that the value of goods exported in August also went down by 21.25 per cent to Sh41.67 billion from Sh52.92 billion. Exports for the eight month period rose marginally by 1.23 per cent to Sh398.1 billion. This places the country’s trade deficit at Sh757.95 billion, a 38.59 per cent jump from Sh546.87 billion recorded the same period last year.