Intervene in Kenya sugar ban, government told
Posted Tuesday, February 19 2013 at 02:00
Industry players say the ban could encourage smuggling of the much-needed commodity.
The Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UNCCI) has asked Comesa member states to intervene and investigate Kenya for violating the East African Community agreement.
The UNCCI has described the non-tariff barriers such as high licence fees that Kenya is imposing on other EAC member states as unfortunate and uncalled for because it contravenes the spirit of a free trade area which has the potential to affect imports as well.
The comments follow reports that Kenya Revenue Authority had since December last year blocked 220 metric tonnes of sugar originating from Uganda, though supermarkets in Uganda have Kenyan-manufactured goods.
According Mr Sudeep Mohanty, the vice president UNCCI, blocking sugar imports in Kenya, is one way to encourage smuggling the product into the country thereby jeopardising business interests in both countries.
“While some of the Comesa countries have taken a serious note on the same, it is important that Uganda...assist legitimate businesses to flourish in both countries,” Mr Mohanty said in a telephone interview Monday.
Voter bribery fears
Last year, Kenya suspended sugar imports from Uganda and Tanzania accusing the two neighbouring states of repackaging tax-free sugar and dumping it in Kenya cheaply.
By last weekend, at least 20 trucks with Ugandan-made sugar were still stuck in Malaba and Busia border posts on suspicion that they were carrying sugar to be stockpiled to bribe voters in the March 4 general elections.