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BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,25TH JUNE 2018-Three cabinet secretaries were on Monday grilled by trade and agricultural committee of parliament concerning the importation of contraband sugar.
The three who appeared before committee were Agriculture Cabinet secretary Mwangi Kinjuri,His treasury counterpart Henry Rotich as well as industrialization CS Adan Mohamed.
Kiunjuri said the government had declared drought a national disaster hence the importation.
The CS told the committee that President Uhuru Kenyatta issued an executive order to allow duty-free imports of maize, sugar and powdered milk.
National Treasury CS Henry Rotich responded to the order and issued the first gazette notice on May 12.
The notice allowed importers to bring in duty-free sugar till August 31, 2017
He added that during that time sugar production went down from 53,000 metric tonnes in January to 10,000 metric tonnes in August in 2017.
He said that this was against a monthly demand of 60,000 metric tonnes.
Kiunjuri added that in May 2017 sugar prices increased from 130 per kilo to Sh 179 in cities and sh 250 in rural areas.
The government was supposed to import from COMESA countries but they too had a deficit opening the importation to world producers.
The acute drought that faced the country in the late 2016 and 2017 led to reduced production of essential foodstuff, leading to importation of sugar, Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri has said.
His sentiments were echoed by Treasury’s Henry Rotich who said the importation was backed a gazette notice published by the government to that effect.