Uganda sugar deal in bad taste

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BY MUSALIA MUDAVADI

The report that the government has entered into a trade pact to allow imports of sugar from Uganda while the local sugar industry is struggling is disheartening.

The excuse of balancing trade between our sister countries should not be used to enter into pacts that undermine local production. It amounts to placing a ransom on citizens for the befit of external friends. It is in bad taste.

President Uhuru Kenyatta owes Kenyans full disclosure on the details of the alleged agreement. It cannot be that his Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed says there is no agreement while the President defends the alleged agreement. There is a smoking gun somewhere. Is there a pact or not? This contradiction needs correcting.

Under section 153 of the Constitution, a Cabinet Secretary must make full and open disclosure of any pact entered with a foreign entity to Parliament. This means public disclosure.

Importation of sugar to plug shortfalls is not new. However, any unregulated imports are a blank cheque for Lords of Sugar to distort the market. The lapse between signing a pact and disclosure to Parliament should not be used to benefit dumping of cheap sugar in the market. The already depressed production will suffer irreparable damage.

Kenyans need to know what measures the government has taken to prevent unscrupulous importation of sugar from outside the COMESA protocol and channelling it through Uganda to circumvent the regulations under the Rules of Origin principal. There is a classical example of re-packaging Brazilian sugar and dumping into the Kenyans market.

The sugar industry sector is in need of urgent intervention.

Livelihoods in the western sugar belt are threatened due to unscrupulous practices leading to weakened and collapsing factories like Mumias, Nzoia and Chemelil.

Even with commendable efforts at bail out, the government as the major shareholder in the factories still owes Kenyans an explanation how the situation was left to deteriorate this far.

However, this alleged deal throws away the goodwill the government had earned through the recent injection of a Sh1 billion bailout for Mumias.

This statement does not exclude the need for efficiency and good governance in the management o the sugar industry.

(Mudavadi is the ANC Party Leader)

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  • Tom Wanyonyi Barasa

    Mr Mudavadi.
    My question do you if you want my vote is! Is it economical to buy surplus sugar from Uganda to fill the shortage gap or buy from Brazil through cartels by Raila Odinga?. What benefits do we have from Brazil and Uganda economically? In other words, which country is valuable to Kenya?
    Is good to make noise just to get votes but have no solutions for Western Kenya economic problems. We cant protect that industry forever and we know it only benefits politicians who keep looting it.

    • kerbala

      Who said that kenya should instead import sugar from Brazil through cartels by Raila? Which Government has sunctioned this importation? who is making noise just to get votes? For your information Raila appointed more than a dozen Ministers from western when he was the prime minister in comparison to Uhuru who has only appointed a few sycophants to convince people like you that he has a govt which reflects the face of kenya while the fact is that the meat is reserved for mt kenya only.

      • Gabby

        RAO has not condemmed the Brazil Sugar Connection in his latest new-found ‘crusade’ so there is an uncanny silence from him about this. Tom Wanyonyi and others have no recourse but to see a one sided politicization of this issue for the Western vote. Ever tried mixing politics with business? Only one side suffers; you don’t need an explanation to this – the business side à la Matiba et. al

  • Caxton Hlestakov

    Tom Wanyonyi i greet you, i agree with your views, we need to trade with Uganda than Brazil becouse of the proximity of the country to ours. Busia and Bungoma counties stand to gain much from the trade. however, Mudavadi should also be on the forefront in fighting to bring to book those responsible for the collapse of MUMIAS SUGER COMPANY. he should not only address and question the details of the bilateral arrang3ement signed by Uhuru, he should go further and ask for musco looters to be brought to book

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