The Amani National Congress (ANC) party has faulted the government for entrusting traders with license to import sugar to bridge the production gap.
The party’s Secretary General Barrack Muluka faulted the government for licensing some traders to import the sugar and asked it shoulder the blame of contraband sugar that has flooded Kenya’s market.
Speaking at a hotel in Busia after meeting ANC’s grassroots official yesterday, Mr Muluka said it is the responsibility of the Government to order sugar from abroad if there is genuine shortage but not to reward unscrupulous traders permit to import sugar.
“It is the worst mistake the government made going forward the State should take full responsibility of importing sugar but not traders,” said Muluka.
H added,” the government should terminate the licenses it awarded the traders and some sugar millers to import sugar for the sake of her citizens.”
Following an acute shortage of sugar that hit the country in 2017, Treasury CS Henry Rotich licensed some traders to import duty free sugar to guarantee sufficient surplus.
Rotich, said Muluka, should reveal names of traders that were allowed to import sugar.
The ANC’s SG further said the government should have encouraged farmers to plant sugarcane so that local sugar factories can have adequate raw materials for production of enough sugar for consumption.
Tones of contraband sugar have been seized by police officers in various parts of the country for the past week. Muluka said once vibrant sugar factories in Western including Mumias Sugar factory, Nzoia Sugar and Butali Sugar were ailing after the government opened a window for importation of the commodity.
“The government should have looked on ways of empowering local sugar farmers and sugar factories so that we can produce our own sugar but not to rush to import sugar that is killing sugar sub sector in the country,” said Muluka
Muluka claimed some of the people behind importation of the sugar are cabinet Secretaries and other top officials in government.
He said the war against illicit sugar and corruption will only succeed if President Uhuru Kenyatta backed it. He called on Interior and Coordination Cabinet SecretaryDr Fred Matiangi'i to make public names of people who have been importing sugar believed to have mercury and copper.
“The people behind sugar importation sit in same cabinet with President Kenyatta, they must be prosecuted for endangering lives of Kenyans by bringing in contraband sugar,” said Muluka.
He said lifestyle audit should not target individuals.