Government spokesperson Isaac Mwaura
Government spokesperson Isaac Mwaura on Friday apologised to passengers who experienced harassment at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) when airport officials searched their belongings.
At a conference held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi, Mwaura recognized the importance of adjusting the Sh75,000 (USD 500) threshold to ease the difficulties faced by tourists coming into the country. Mwaura proposed raising the limit to Sh1.5 million, asserting that this aligns with global standards. He stressed the importance of working together with Mr. Watanga from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to reassess the current threshold established by the East African Customs Regulations.
"This 500 USD threshold is an East African Customs Regulations and I've engaged Mr Watanga of KRA and we've had conversations, that law is going to be reviewed because the standard is 10,000 USD," he stated.
Mwaura expressed concern that such incidents could dissuade tourists and diminish the country's reputation as a premier travel hotspot. Many travellers have expressed worry about the Customs section at JKIA due to the new directive from KRA, which requires the declaration of items exceeding the Sh 75,000 limit. Passengers have lodged complaints asserting that these inspections encroach upon their privacy.
Captain Fredrick Malu spoke out against the invasive search of his luggage by customs officials, emphasizing the absurdity of their focus on a small Sh10,000 item that fell way below the established threshold. Other travellers also cited their displeasure, wondering why certain officials were using the new directive as an excuse to harass them. In response to the complaints, Tourism CS Alfred Mutua went to JKIA and assured the public that steps had been taken to restore order and fairness at the airport.