Press Center | Freight Shipping Logistics News
Investigations by the Nation have established that cases of sugar smuggling into the country has been on the rise after the Comesa restrictions, which were to end last month, were extended by one year.
If the restrictions on the import of sugar from the Comesa region would not have been extended, the traders would have brought in the commodity duty-free.
However, the restriction was extended, and those who had imported the commodity are smuggling it into the country to finish their stock.
Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Felix Koskei Sunday confirmed that illegal sugar had found its way into the local market to the detriment of local millers.
In the past few weeks, local millers have complained that their produce was lying in stores due to a flooded market.
“We have asked KRA, KPA and security agencies to enhance their surveillance on the same. Sugar imports from non-Comesa countries were suspended. We are requesting consumers to be patriotic and consume locally produced sugar,” Mr Koskei said.
Kenya Sugar Board chief executive Rosemary Mkok told the Nation that short-term and long-term interventions have been put in place to reverse the trend, which is likely to see thousands of job losses in sugar mills.
“Yes, the stocks have hit unprecedented levels in the past four weeks and we have put short- and long-term interventions. As of Friday, we had stabilised to 35,597 metric tonnes and are optimistic this trend will be maintained,” Ms Mkok said.
Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, who is a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, said that the presence of sugar barons, who were colluding with KRA and the police to bring illegal sugar into the country, was hurting the local millers.
“Some of these barons are well-connected people, unfortunately; others are MPs sitting in the agricultural committee, frustrating the efforts we make,” Mr Washiali claimed.
He said illegal sugar was finding its way through the Liboi and Somali port. “We are asking Inspector General David Kimaiyo to create a special unit to crack down on sugar barons,” the lawmaker said.
PARASTATAL heads who signed the Mombasa port community charter risk being sacked if their agencies do not deliver on the contents of the new entity. The charter signed between the government and the private sector aims at improving the movement of cargo from the port into hinterland