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In a letter to Agriculture permanent secretary Ramano Kiome, Mr Wako said the rules introduced by minister William Ruto contravened “the wording and spirit of the Treaty and particularly Article 49”.
The regulations will lengthen the import procedures, thus constituting non-tariff barriers that are prohibited by the treaty, hence an unnecessary administrative imposition, said the AG.
“The proposed legislation would be discriminatory against importers and restrictive in nature,” warned the AG.
The new regulations have a section for punishing importers without import or export permits who fail to make returns to the Kenya Sugar Board by a fine not exceeding Sh500,000. However, the Sugar Act does not have this provision.
Since the regulations are against the Comesa Treaty, the AG warned, they risked being thrown out by the courts.
He said it was of “great concern” that Kenya continued to enjoy Comesa benefits by having its products duty free in member states, yet it was creating non-conducive and non-tariff barriers for imports.
On Thursday, the Agriculture PS said the new regulations would be published but refused to be drawn into discussing the AG’s letter.
“It is my principle not to discuss letters in the media. It is not the right thing to do and I would not like to be drawn into discussing the letter from the AG,” said the PS.
Mr Ruto last week said a Government Gazette notice would be published.
Comesa has already sounded a warning over the regulation, saying its council had passed a resolution to extend Kenya’s Comesa quota.
The council extended the quota on terms that the safeguard measure would not be restrictive and that it was at the end of the initial period.
Comesa said the safeguard would be applied on a non-discriminatory basis and that new administrative measures which may act as non-tariff barriers, which did not exist before the granting of the initial period, should not be introduced.
Two weeks ago, the Kenya Sugar Board warned of an impending shortage. But sugar millers have insisted that they have enough stocks.
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