Unlike Nigeria, Kenya Ban Importation of Tokunbo Vehicles Registered Below 2017


While Nigeria is still grappling with 12 years age limit for imported vehicles, the Kenya Bureau of Standards has issued new guidelines on the importation of tokunbo vehicles, warning that any vehicle registered in 2016 or earlier, arriving after December 31, 2023, will be impounded.

The Nigeria Customs Service had in 2022 set the minimum age of vehicle import to 2013, directing that importers must pay 2013 duty for all vehicles below that year.

However, the rules set by Kenya which affect returning residents, diplomatic staff and the general public also states that beginning January 1, 2024, only right-hand drive vehicles will be allowed into the country.

In a notice appearing on a weekly dated December 5, vehicles whose year of first registration is from January 1, 2017, and later shall be allowed into the country.

This, it says, is “in observance with clause 2.5 of KS 1515:2000 on the eight-year age limit requirement”.

It is also in accordance with the provision of KS 1515:2000-Kenya Standard Code of Practice for Inspection of Road Vehicles, and Legal Notice No.78 of April 28, 2020, on the Verification of Conformity to Kenya Standards of Imports Order.

“Vehicles exported to Kenya shall be expected to comply with KS 1515:2000-Kenya Code of Practice for Inspection of Road Vehicles while vehicles from countries where KEBS has an inspection agency,” the notice reads.

The particular countries are Japan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Singapore and South Africa.

Any car imported from the countries shall be accompanied by a Certificate of Roadworthiness issued by Quality Inspection Services Inc. Japan which is an inspection company contracted by KEBS, it adds.

The CoRs for vehicles whose year of first registration is 2016 will, however, not be valid after December 31, 2023.

According to the agency, all vehicles issued with such certificates must arrive at the port of destination or entry on December 31, 2023.

“Any vehicle registered in 2016 or earlier, arriving after December 31, 2023, will be deemed not compliant with KS 1515:2000 and shall be rejected at the importer’s expense,” the notice reads.

Kebs KS 1515:2000 code on left-hand drive vehicles provides that they can only be allowed for registration unless they are for a special purpose.

These are ambulances, fire tenders and large construction vehicles imported for projects and to be eventually donated to the Kenyan government and roadworthiness.

About 80 per cent of imports are from Japan with other markets being the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and South Africa.

Second-hand cars dominate the local market accounting for 85 per cent of Kenya’s car purchases, with an annual import of up to 90,000 units.

The eight-year rule once caught up with importers in 2014 when more than 2,000 used motor vehicles registered in 2006 were locked out of the country, leading to losses of millions of shillings by dealers and individuals.

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