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KCAA Significantly drops importation charges for drones in new proposals

Importing a drone in Kenya has been quite a hassle due to lack of proper regulations governing the unmanned Aerial vehicles, but this is about to change after the authority unveiled proposals that would allow Kenyans to import them under certain guidelines. The authority had earlier on received a setback following rejection of its earlier proposals by the parliament which had initially proposed an import permit of USD.200 equivalent to about Ksh20,000. KCCA has now revised charges to USD.30 (Ksh3,000) instead.

This comes as a major drop from earlier proposals and if approved, will see more Kenyans import drones knowing the charges wouldn’t be as high. The move follows current views being submitted by stakeholders on proposed charges especially after the parliament approved and consequently gazettement of regulations as the country moves closer to adopting the drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has so far started accepting applications for those who want permits and registration of the drone and according to the Director General Gilbert Kibe, the exercise will be based on drone category to avoid congestion in the skies. Kibe further said the authority was in the final stages and had called on interested parties to apply for the permits.

Categories that Kenyan’s can apply for the gadget include recreation, filming, media and photography and after the public had finalized issuing their views on charges, the proposals will then be adopted and forwarded to the Transport secretary for approval.

According to some preliminary views, stakeholders seem to be satisfied with the proposed charges as they are much more affordable than the earlier ones. Unlike earlier proposals, KCAA has not issued different fees for different categories. From earlier proposals, drones falling in commercial recreational purposes would have attracted lower charges than those meant for commercial use.

Kenya’s parliament had annulled the Kenya Civil Aviation (Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems Regulations, 2017) after finding fault with several provisions. According to the committee in charge of the legislation, there was minimal public participation while coming up with those regulations and most of the proposals had fallen short of addressing issues with regards to safety, security, and breached personal privacy by drones in civilian hands under the Bill of Rights.

Before the gazettement of these regulations, importing a drone in the country had remained illegal with exception to the military, prompting confiscation of hundreds of drones at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as they were being imported at the time when there is no legal framework on drones in the country. However, KCAA said it would be releasing them to the owners once everything has been finalized.

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