KAMPALA- State Minister for East African Community (EAC) Affairs Shem Bagiene has said the Kenyan government is mixing its trade arrangements with the Common Market for East and South Africa (Comesa) with EAC matters.
Talking to Daily Monitor yesterday, Mr Bageine said the excuse the Kenyan government is advancing for blocking sugar from neighbouring states from accessing its market should not be mixed with its trading arrangements with Comesa member states because the parameters of engagement between the two trading blocs are totally different.
Kenya was recently granted a one-year extension by the Comesa trade and customs committee to limit sugar imports from the trade bloc, according to an article that ran yesterday in Business Daily.
This followed the expiry of the 12-year Comesa safeguard—a deal which had cushioned the Kenyan Sugar industry from cheap sugar imports from the Comesa region.
“What does Comesa have to do with EAC? Let Kenya not mix Comesa with our arrangements. We have different parameters which should not interfere with our internal arrangements,” he said.
Since 2012, the Kenyan government has guarded her sugar market saying neighbouring states were dumping cheaper sugar imported from the Comesa region into her market.
As a result, the Kenya sugar board decided to come up with a sugar permit system which requires all sugar exporters intending to access the Kenyan market to acquire sugar permits allowing them to sell the sugar in Kenya.