The Kenya government also agreed to send a bilateral sugar verification mission to Uganda before the end of January 2021
The Kenyan government has agreed to let in 90,000 metric tonnes of Ugandan sugar into its market annually, following a meeting of the two countries’ officials.
The revelation was made on Wednesday by the deputy secretary to the Treasury, Patrick Ocailap, as he briefed President Yoweri Museveni at his ranch in Kisozi, Gomba District.
According to Ocailap, the Kenyan government has agreed with immediate effect to allow 20,000 metric tonnes of Ugandan sugar into their country and the rest will be cleared following a verification process.
President Museveni thanked the Kenyan government for the gesture, saying it would boost the prosperity of Ugandans.
“It also cements our spirit of East African integration,” he added.
Early this month, President Museveni contacted his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, after Nairobi barred sugar imports from Uganda.
The two leaders agreed to task their officials to meet and agree on a workable solution.
On December 18, Ocailap led a Ugandan delegation to Nairobi, while the Kenyan team was headed by Amb. Johnson Weru, the principal secretary in the Ministry of Trade.
The meeting agreed that Kenya would allow duty-free wholly obtained sugar from Uganda up to 90,000 metric tonnes per annum on condition of submission of proof, therefore.
It was also agreed that the Kenyan government would immediately post trade facilitation officers within Uganda to gather information, monitor, and confirm that Ugandan exports into Kenya are wholly obtained from Ugandan factories.
Uganda’s government was also officially tasked to notify Kenya of its decision to abolish bonded warehousing of sugar and provide verifiable evidence that would help in reducing smuggling and re-bagging of non-originated sugar.
It was also noted that Kenya’s agriculture ministry through its Agriculture and Food Authority would fully audit the register of permit holders with a view to establishing the fully authorised import/trade permits and weed out the inappropriate ones by the end of December 2020.
The Kenya government also agreed to send a bilateral sugar verification mission to Uganda before the end of January 2021 and the mission would be fully facilitated by the government of Uganda.
Other delegates in attendance of the meeting, on the Ugandan side, were Jacqueline Banana, representative from Uganda High Commission in Nairobi, Amina Hersi Moghe Osman, founder, and CEO of Horyal Investment Holding Company/Atiak, Sarbjit Singh Rai, Chairman of Kinyara Sugar Works Limited.
Those on the Kenyan side were Dr Joseph Kinyua head of public service, Dr Julius Muia, Principal secretary of the National Treasury, Dr Francis Muraya, senior economic advisor, James Githi, Commissioner General of Kenya Revenue Authority, Joseph Ngugi from the National Treasury and Rosemary Owino, Sugar Director from the Agriculture and Food Authority.
In the briefing with the President, Ocailap said a letter to the Kenyan government confirming abolishing of bonded warehouses for sugar was being prepared.
He said Uganda was ready to receive the Kenyan officials tasked with verifying the Ugandan factories, adding it would build trust and confirm that Uganda has the capacity to export high-quality sugar.
On the issue of permits, Ocailap said once the cleaning of the permit register was sorted, any sugar imported through Uganda from outside East Africa must pay the full taxes at the coast of Mombasa.
He noted that this new sugar trade development would spur growth in the economy of Uganda and would further strengthen the relationship between Kenya and Uganda.
“I am humbled that the President placed confidence in me to lead the delegation of Uganda for the sugar trade mission which has been a complete success,” he said.