KRA now wants to tax travelers personal items worth Ksh.75K and above
While making the controversial announcement on X (formerly Twitter), the KRA handle said that all travelers bringing along items worth USD500 (approx. Ksh 75,000) and above will be subjected to taxation.
"Remember when traveling you will be allowed to carry personal or household items worth USD500 and below. Anything above the amount, shall be subjected to tax," the tweet read.
The announcement appeared to be a reaction to an earlier tweet made by X user Dickson Otieno who lamented KRA's poor handling of arrivals at the JKIA saying that Kenya was going to 'lose a lot of travelers and goodwill' going by the current trend.
"With the way KRA is handling arrivals at JKIA, Kenya is going to lose a lot of travelers and a lot of goodwill. You’d think the revenue they collect from harassing arrivals would fund our budget," he said.
"We are a failed country. We can’t see it yet. Someone’s personal items have been scattered all over. Someone’s iPad has been confiscated. It’s weird!"
Otieno also went on to call out the authorities for their hard-handedness and careless interaction with travelers' personal belongings, wondering why the process couldn't simply be friendly and a little more organised.
"Long queues. Frustrated visitors being forced to stay in line and open bags and show their personal items to people not wearing any gloves and ransacking their stuff!" he ranted.
Earlier, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua also voiced his concerns over the alleged harassment of international tourists at the country’s entry and exit points by the KRA officials.
Mutua accused some KRA officials of conducting unnecessary and exaggerated checks, which he believes are scaring away tourists.
"When our tourists arrive, they carry their cameras, wear their shoes, and yet they are harassed at the airport. KRA officials at the airport harass our visitors, and this leaves them with a negative impression. You wonder why they don’t come back,” Mutua lamented.
Comparing Kenya to other tourist destinations, Mutua highlighted the more tourist-friendly procedures in places elsewhere.
“You go to Rwanda, they don’t harass you. Does Rwanda not collect taxes? You go to South Africa, and they don’t harass you. In Dubai, they don’t harass you. So, why do our visitors face such challenges in Kenya?” he questioned.
KRA's latest directive, which seeks to tax personal goods worth over Ksh. 75,000 attracted the most bile, with Kenyans on X (KOX) unleashing their anger and calling out the government body for what they termed as audacious daylight robbery.
Popular X personality and social commentator Gabriel Oguda joined thousands of disgruntled Kenyans in voicing their concerns, saying, "All goods WHETHER NEW OR USED, are subject to taxation. It will not matter whether your new iPhone is inside a glittering box or wrapped in a dusty handkerchief, you will still have to smile at the KRA officer slapping you with a tax slip. Mlisema tuanze hapa bottom tukienda up?"
Another user @Mohammed_Onyango also failed to see the sense in the proposal, saying, "Imagine landing in Kenya from London and KRA wants to charge you 63% of the market value of any gadget that you have brought your loved one as a gift..."
Official State House photographer Nesh Maina, himself a person considered to be a government insider owing to his proximity to power, also seemed to have experienced the supposed KRA ineptitude, taking to X to drop a few secret tips to travelers.
"Unbox your new electronics before you arrive at JKIA international arrival terminals. By unboxing, I mean do not carry with you that iPhone box or MacBook box you bought it with. Also, switch it on. It will help. Put the new phones in your pocket not your carry-on luggage," he tweeted.
After much backlash online, the KRA X handle has now deleted the controversial tweet and offered no follow-up explanation for the deletion.
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