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Kenya, Uganda in trade stand-off
Published in Bikya Masr on 19 - 09 - 2012

NAIROBI: About 600 containers of sugar and 2,000 vehicles being imported by Uganda are stuck in the Kenyan port of Mombasa as Ugandan revenue and foreign service officials hold discussions to resolve an international trade standoff.
The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) recently directed that transit goods execute a cash bond equivalent to the tax value of the consignments imposed on them if they were to be sold in Kenya.
The KRA directive, which was issued on August 29, applies to sugar imports and cars. Until recently, the normal practice has been through insurance bonds and not cash.
The decision made importers and local authorities furious. They described it as a move to hurt inland states' businesses.
Richard Kamajugo, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner for Customs, told local media that the genesis of the problem is the increased amount of Ugandan sugar being sold on the Kenya market. Kenya suspects Uganda does not have the capacity to suddenly produce extra sugar.
“They think we have no capacity so we have invited them to the sugar factories,” says Kamajugo, who revealed that the held-up consignments and goods worth billions of shillings have grossly interrupted revenue collections and business flow.
This has led to bad blood between Ugandan importers and revenue authorities who view the Kenyan move as “unhelpful to the region's business process”.
Analysts believe Kenya is playing “big brother wanting to have it all” in an integrating East African Community (EAC) where there are already established mechanisms and platforms for resolving conflicts.
Ugandan cargo accounts for about 75 percent of the total exiting Mombasa.


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