14 February 2013

Zambia: Kenya-Bound Sugar Marooned At Border

MORE than 10 trucks carrying Zambian sugar destined for exports to Kenyan customers are marooned at the Tanzania-Kenya border after being denied entry by the Kenyan authorities.

The consignments belonging to Zambia Sugar have been stuck at Namanga border for two weeks now despite the exporter having met all export regulations including the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) rules of origin.

Contrary to the COMESA Free Trade Area (FTA) protocol, the Kenyan authorities have reportedly refused to allow trucks carrying Zambian sugar to enter into that country for export for the past two weeks.

Zambia Sugar corporate affairs manager Lovemore Sievu, who confirmed this yesterday, said the Zambian sugar destined for the Kenyan clients complied with both COMESA rules of origin and other documentary requirements.

Mr Sievu said more than 10 trucks laden with sugar were marooned at Namanga border after being refused entry into Kenya.

"We currently have more than 10 trucks marooned at Namanga on the Tanzania/ Kenyan border after being refused entry into Kenya," Sievu said.

He said despite concerted efforts to reason with Kenyan authorities, they still refused to budge and allow the trucks carrying Zambian Sugar into Kenya.

Mr Sievu said the sugar destined for Kenyan customers who had imported the commodity from Zambia complied with all the rules and procedure of export and wondered what the problem was.

Zambia is a surplus sugar producer with production capacity exceeding 450,000 tonnes per annum.

A third of sugar produced in Zambia is consumed locally, while the surplus is exported to the European Union (EU) and the region to which Kenya is part of.

Commenting on the matter Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Stephen Mwansa said the government had engaged its Kenyan counterpart on the matter.

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