Business owners in the Eastleigh district of Nairobi are considering a move to neighboring countries due to the adverse effects of increased import duties on goods from foreign nations.
The government raised tariffs on electronics, clothing, shoes, and cosmetics, resulting in a decline in customers.
Hajj Hassan, the Chairman of the Eastleigh Business Association, noted that in 2017, the duty on a single container increased from Ksh 1.7 million to Ksh 1.9 million. By 2022, this duty had risen to Ksh 2.8 million per container.
“This year alone, the government has increased the duty twice. In June 2023, it rose from Ksh 2.8 million to Ksh 3 million per container. In July 2023, the government further increased it from Ksh 3 million to Ksh 4.4 million per container,” said Mr. Hassan.
“The business sector relies on goods imported for production. Imposing high tariffs may discourage foreign investors, potentially stifling economic growth,” he added.
Eastleigh has been receiving over 1,000 containers of imported goods each month, but due to the increased tariffs, it now receives approximately 300-400 containers of goods.
The traders express concern that the escalating taxes may not only impact their businesses negatively but also discourage foreign investments, hampering overall economic growth.