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Duty waiver on maize imports extended to June

By | January 14th 2010 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By James Anyanzwa

The Ministries of Finance and Agriculture will extend the duty waiver on maize imports to June.

"The extension is granted to June. That is the Government position. The paper work may have delayed, but both the ministries of Agriculture and Finance agreed on the extension to June," Agriculture minister, William Ruto, said yesterday.

Ruto said duty on maize imports would only be reviewed after the expiry of the extension period, depending on the circumstances.

He dispelled fears among importers that the 25 per cent tax break on maize imports would be terminated on January 16.

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Ruto, however, demanded to know why the cost of flour and maize does not reflect the duty waiver.

"Why is the cost of maize still at Sh2, 400, while importation of maize is at Sh1,800? The private sector must also be accountable," he said.

Mixed signals

The Treasury, Ministry of Agriculture and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) have been sending mixed signals on whether the duty free maize import window would be scrapped upon its expiry on January 16, or be extended to June.

The country is currently faced with a shortfall of 16 million bags of maize, owing to poor harvests across the country emanating from short rain failure at crop periods.

The duty free window was introduced a year ago, in response to looming social disorder, as the public demanded politicians to lower the price of maize flour.

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