- MPs told the CS for Agriculture that duty waivers on sugar, rice, and maize were only benefitting importers because the prices of the commodities remained high
- MPs expressed apprehensions about the qualifications of companies as importers, highlighting the lack of clear criteria for selection of importers
- Mithika Linturi revealed that a cumulative 163,827 tonnes of sugar from non-COMESA countries arrived in Kenya between January and September
Elijah Ntongai, a journalist at TUKO.co.ke, leverages more than three years of expertise in financial, business, and technology research, providing profound insights into both Kenyan and global economic trends.
The National Assembly Committee on Agriculture and Livestock chaired by John Mutunga met with Mithika Linturi, CS Ministry of Agriculture seeking information on the impact of the duty waiver on sugar, rice, and maize on prices in Kenya.
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During a committee session, led by John Mutunga of Tigania East, concerns were raised by Members of Parliament about the transparency of the recruitment process and the adherence to various selection criteria, with a specific demand for full disclosure of all companies involved in recent imports.
Furthermore, apprehensions were expressed regarding the qualifications of these companies as importers, emphasising the absence of clear criteria and highlighting the extension of importation through a Gazette Notice issued in October 2023.
“We need to see figures that demonstrate how importation has reduced the cost of sugar, maize, and rice for consumers, so far the duty waiver is only benefiting the importers,” said Ferdinand Wanyonyi, the member of parliament for the Kwanza constituency.
“What are the qualifications of a company as an importer? From what I can see there are no clear criteria?,” asked Jared Okello, the MP for the Nyando constituency.
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Between January and September, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Linturi clarified that a cumulative quantity of 163,827 tonnes of sugar from non-COMESA countries arrived in Kenya, but as pointed out by Wanyonyi, the prices of sugar remained high.
What is the price of sugar?
A spot check by TUKP.co.ke on supermarkets in Nairobi revealed that the price of one kilogram ranged between KSh 210 to KSh 230, while two-kilogram packets of sugar sold between KSh 420 and KSh 450, depending on the brand, which indicates that despite the duty-free importation of sugar in the country, the prices have remained high.
A previous spot check by TUKO.co.ke in August found that a 2kg packet of sugar retailed between KSh 450 to KSh 510 across supermarkets and small retail shops. A kilo pack of sugar goes between KSh 235 to KSh 260, which implies a slight drop in prices.