Fear of baba dogo black market return grips Kenyan car owners

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The Kenya Bureau of Standards has slapped hard the ordinary Kenyans and business dealers with their new ban of second hand vehicle spare parts importation.

The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), in a notice that was sent out to pre-shipment cargo inspectors, has set out 17 categories of used car spare parts that are banned from entry into the country. This move is as per the government’s policy shift that is intended to eliminate the market for used car parts.

This follows the Ministry of Industrialisation move to restrict import of used cars that are older than five years, arguing that this will boost local manufacturers and create high-quality jobs in the long run. This is as per regulations contained in the draft National Automotive Policy.

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Due to the economic situation in the country currently, the middle class vehicle owners have lamented that they will be frustrated as majority can afford only the 2nd hand spare parts and as well are highly dependant on the Jua Kali industry for repairs.

The Economic Survey 2019 shows that Kenyans spent Sh 10.1 billion last year on importation of motor vehicle spare parts, most of which were second-hand, based on motorists’ preference.

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Thousands of motorists heavily rely on used motor vehicle spares, which are relatively cheaper and of better quality than new imports that mainly come from China, Taiwan, India and Indonesia.

The issue of theft has also risen with the debate that the ban will increase spare arts robbery due availability of few legit products and inability to afford them.

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It has also been sensitised that ban will bring back the days cars  used to be stolen and cannibalised for parts with the realisation that when 2nd hand Japan and UK parts were allowed the crime died. There are worries it ill revive the Baba dogo black market.

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The Kenya Auto Bazaar Association secretary-general, Charles Munyori, said the proposal will unfairly punish users of second-hand spare parts.

“I don’t think they are being genuine and you can see the whole conspiracy from the new motor vehicle dealers to take over the spares market as well. The government is not likely to achieve much because even the salvage motor vehicles still generate a significant portion of the second-hand parts. Some of the so called new parts are fake and break down very fast,” said Mr Munyori.

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