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Western Kenya leaders raise alarm over cheap sugar imports

By By BRYAN TUMWA | September 30th 2013


Kakamega County: Western leaders from sugarcane growing zones want the Government to stop importation of sugar from Egypt to protect the local mills.

Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale among other leaders asked the Government to lodge a formal complaint at the council of ministers of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) for what they termed as unfair competition from Egypt in the international sugar market.

The Egyptian sugar is reported to have found its way into the country and because it is cheaper it has occasioned unfair advantage against the sugar manufactured locally.

“The Government should deliberately take a strong position in Comesa because of the imported sugar that is finding its way into the Kenyan market. Egypt doesn’t grow the sugar they export because they import it from Brazil. That same sugar is exported to Kenya,” said Khalwale.

The senator said Kenya should demand that countries allowed to export sugar be countries that grow the crop locally as per the regulations of Comesa.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula warned that the presence of cheap imported sugar in the country five months to the expiry of Comesa safeguards was worsening an already ailing industry in Western.

“Egypt imports sugar from Brazil yet they export to other Comesa countries. We need the Kenya Sugar Board and the Government to audit all the sugar produced in Comesa countries because so far we know that Egypt is a net importer of sugar,” he said.

The two leaders made the comments after a consultative meeting in Kakamega town convened to plan for a two-day conference on sugar which will be held on October 10 and 11.

Without tax

Others present at the meeting included Senator Daisy Kanaiza, Nambale MP John Bunyasi, Ben Washiali (Mumias East) and Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani). Khalwale challenged the National Intelligence Service (NIS) to expose the unscrupulous business people that were behind the purchase of cheap imported sugar into the local market without paying import duty.

“I’m in possession of reports from the NIS informing the Government of the presence of sugar imported illegally. The police commissioner should stop the illegal imports which are not subjected to tax,” said Khalwale.

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