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Agriculture CS risks impeachment over sugar importation

05 November 2014, 11:38 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – MPs from the National Assembly’s Committee on Agriculture have questioned the Government’s importation of sugar from Uganda to overcome the impending shortage in the country and threatened to impeach the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Felix Koskei for intending to kill local sugar industry.

The more than five MPs led by Mbita MP, Milly Odhiambo, said the Agriculture Committee has summoned Koskei to explain why his ministry rushed to import 10 000 tonnes of sugar from Uganda yet the sugar available in the country is not fully exhausted.

Odhaimbo said the rush by the Agriculture ministry to bring in more sugar contravenes the COMESA market policies and Kenya’s laid down procurement procedures.

“The committee has received complaints that some companies were secretly awarded permits to import sugar,” said Odhiambo.

“It is impossible to give import permits in a week then goods are brought in the country the following week. Why would sugar come from Uganda yet its two factories produce lower sugar that is inadequate to the local market? We believe the imported sugar was ferried from Mombasa to Uganda then back to Kenya,” she added.

Read Also: Police impound unaccustomed sugar in Busia

Although the Committee has summoned Koskei, Odhiambo revealed that some members have started to collect signatures to impeach the CS for incompetence in his docket by attempting to kill local agricultural industries by importing 60 000 tonnes of maize in addition to sugar.

“The issue of the controversial importation of the 60 000 metric tones of maize from Tanzania has been raised by the Committee before and the government needs to explain to farmers why it is importing maize when farmers have maize in their stores and the National Cereals and Produce Board still has stock,” said Odhiambo.

Mumias East MP, Benjamin Washiali, concurred with Odhiambo and said the government's rush to import more sugar is uncalled for since local sugar factories that have been undergoing maintenance are soon resuming the normal production process.

Read Also: African sugar producers says smuggling is a major problem

“The Cabinet Secretary’s argument that 2 000 tonnes are consumed daily in the country to justify his move to import more sugar is only a lie. Importation of sugar by the government intends to kill the already wounded sugar factories,” said Washiali.

He challenged the government to do a cost analysis survey to determine why the Ugandan sugar is cheaper than the Kenyan before making the decision of importation.

Some of the 10 Ugandan companies awarded the importation permits to supply Brown sugar as revealed by the MPs include; Sirocco Investment Ltd (837 tonnes), Emco Holdings Ltd (240 tonnes), Fuiko Enterprises Ltd (425 tonnes), Midland Emporium Ltd (755 tonnes), North Cort Ltd (231 tonnes), The Commodity House Ltd (420 tonnes), Sky Hawk Lt (1 925 tonnes), Inland Africa Logistics Ltd (3 100 tonnes), Sukari Investment Ltd (55 tonnes)and the Zambian, Optiton Two Ltd (2 540 tonnes).

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