The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has restated the guidelines to be used when importing used or second-hand vehicles into the country commencing January 2024.

In a notice dated December 4, 2023, KEBS indicated that from January 1, 2024 Kenyans will be allowed to import only second-hand vehicles that were registered from January 1, 2017.

The bureau clarified that the rules were based on the eight-year age limit that was imposed by the government on the importation of Right-Hand Drive used and second-hand vehicles.

“We wish to notify all importers of used/second-hand motor vehicles, including returning residents, diplomatic staff and the general public, that in observance of clause 2.5 of KS 1515:2000 on the eight (8) year age limit requirement, only Right-Hand Drive (RHD) motor vehicles whose Year of First Registration is from January 1, 2017 and later shall be allowed into the country effective 1st January 2024,” read the KEBS notice dated December 4, 2023.

KEBS stressed that all the imported vehicles must comply with all other relevant regulations.

“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 (i.e. Japan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Thailand, Singapore, and South Africa) shall be accompanied with a Certificate of Roadworthiness (COR) issued by Quality Inspection Services Inc. Japan (QISJ) which is an inspection company contracted by KEBS,” went on the notice.

The bureau advised Kenyans intending to import vehicles whose initial registration precedes January 1, 2017 to ensure they land at the port of Mombasa before December 31, 2023.

The standards body warned importers that should their vehicles be found to be in violation of the strict regulations, they will be rejected with the owner forced to bear the cost.

“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,” warned the notice.

This comes as Kenyan car dealers and buyers have been grappling with a staggering 14.69 per cent increase in the cost of importing used cars owing to a concoction of biting factors.

Key among them is the government’s move to hike the import duty from 25 to 35 per cent on top of a 2.5 per cent import declaration fee and a 1.5 per cent railway development levy.

Compounding the blitzkrieg by the government on car importers in a bid to raise more revenue is the fast depreciation of the Kenya shilling against the US dollar for months now.