The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is facing a mountain wave of criticism following a recent directive that has stirred up controversy and anger among Kenyans. The directive, which aims to impose taxes on personal and household items, whether new or used, has ignited public outrage.
In an announcement made through their official social media account on X (formerly Twitter), the KRA stated that travelers bringing personal or household items worth USD 500 (approximately Ksh 75,000) or more would be subject to taxation.
“When traveling, you will be allowed to carry personal or household items worth USD500 and below. Anything exceeding this amount shall be subject to taxation,” the tweet reads.
KRA officials are also facing allegations of harassment of international tourists at the country’s major airports. This will be a particular issue of concern for the Kenya Kwanza government after Tourism Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua expressed concerns over these reported incidents.
CS Mutua accused some KRA officials of conducting unnecessary and exaggerated checks. He further added that he believes these unnecessary checks are driving away tourists.
“When tourists arrive, they bring their cameras, wear their shoes, and yet they are harassed at the airport. KRA officials at the airport harass our visitors, leaving them with a negative impression. It’s no wonder they don’t come back,” lamented Mutua.
Comparing Kenya to other tourist destinations, Mutua pointed out the need for Kenya to emulate more tourist-friendly procedures in other places.
Following a significant online backlash, the KRA’s X social media handler has since deleted the controversial tweet, providing no subsequent explanation for its removal.