The Kenya Auto Bazaar Association (Kaba) has opposed the move by the government to progressively reduce the age limit of imported used cars from the current eight years to three by 2021, saying it will kill the local industry.
Kaba chairman John Kipchumba on Sunday complained that his association was kept in the dark regarding the Draft National Automotive Policy even as he vowed to fight it all the way to the courts.
The plan has caused an uproar among the vehicle dealers who claim that it is a ploy by the government to punish the poor.
Mr Kipchumba also accused Trade and Industry Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya of playing protectionism policies that only favour multinational corporations as opposed to promoting local industries that support many Kenyans.
“That policy is a total failure. Why would you subject Kenyans to the mercy of the MNCs? We will not allow it in the country,” Mr Kipchumba, a retired Kenya Air Force fighter pilot, said at a press conference in Nairobi.
He claimed that Kaba’s request to have dialogue with Mr Munya has been ignored, wondering whether the minister is above the law.
This is despite the constitution providing for public participation in the formulation of public policies and laws, he added.
But during a recent briefing, Mr Munya said there was wide consultation before the policy was drafted, noting that those unhappy have the option of importing smaller cars with eight years limit or buy from the local market.
Meanwhile, the dealers now want the government to modernise the Numerical Machining Complex (NMC) as part of efforts to make Kenya a world-class automotive manufacturer.
Mr Kipchumba said the investment would easily deal with the importation of used cars and provide Kenyans with employment as well as give them an opportunity to drive new, environmentally-friendly cars.
“Kaba suggests that part of the complex be turned into a modern steel milling factory. This will enable our country to comfortably produce all the required steel for pellets, plates and sheets.
"It will help Kenya grow its automotive manufacturing industry and slowly wean itself off the importation of both new and used cars,” Mr Kipchumba said.