The Ugandan government has publicly protested a 79 per cent cut on its scheduled sugar exports to Kenya, reigniting a diplomatic row between the two East African Community states.
The country's Minister of Agriculture Frank Tumwebaze took his lamentation on social media where he publicly complained over the directive issued by Agriculture CS Peter Munya.
President Yoweri Museveni's appointee accused his Kenyan counterpart pf dishonesty and unfairness in the implementation of the restriction of sugar imports.
“Comrade Peter Munya we need an honest conversation about these trade restrictions from your side. Wauganda hawafurahi (Ugandans are not happy)! Don't make this whole idea of jumuiya (unity) doubtable.” the Ugandan Minister stated.
Tumwebaze was reacting to a notice by the Sugar Directorate in Nairobi that traders will only be allowed to import 18,923 tonnes of sugar from Uganda - down from 90,000 tonnes that Kenya had earlier agreed.
The Ugandan minister stated that retaliatory action taken would be taken against Kenya.
“Kenya imports about 450,000 tonnes of sugar. If your sugar board (trade police) allowed Uganda to export to Kenya its 150,000 tonnes, still your sugar import demand would remain unmet. So, nothing explains the restrictions on Uganda.”
“Should we also start a board to restrict or give permits to Kenyan margarine and plastics? Yes, we could check on their standards too!” he added.
Kenya’s Trade Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina and her Ugandan counterpart had in April agreed that Uganda would be allowed to export 90,000 tonnes of sugar to Kenya as soon as the verification mission on the country of origin was completed.
Kenya had entered into a deal with Uganda to allow the export of surplus sugar into the country three years ago, but Nairobi delayed the implementation until late last year when Kampala was allowed to ship in 20,000 tonnes of 90,000 tonnes surplus that it had requested.
In 2020, Kenya banned importation of a section of Ugandan products into the country over concerns that the goods were imported from outside the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region.
In retaliation, Kampala, demanded that Nairobi allows it to import its excess sugar lest they ban Kenya's exportation of duty-free fruit juices and pharmaceuticals.
The two countries subsequently made a deal that would see both parties safeguard their export goods and put to an end the trade dispute.