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Plea to extend Comesa tariffs

The Star, Kenya

Plea to extend Comesa tariffs

6 November 2013

By Shabhan Makokha

Former Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi has asked the government to seek an extension of the Comesa safeguards to protect the local sugar industry from excessive imports from the Comesa region.

Mudavadi said the sugar industry is still threatened by challenges of high costs of production, inefficient factory operations, inadequate sugar cane supply, incomplete privatisation and low product diversification.

Addressing Christians at Bishop Hannington Cathedral on Sunday when he accompanied President Uhuru Kenyatta on his visit to Mumias, Mudavadi said the sugar industry could be headed for even rougher times as the Comesa sugar tariff regime ends in February next year. He said extension of the COMESA safeguards will ensure local sugar production is competitive and more affordable.

Mudavadi asked President Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto to pump funds to the ailing Mumias and Nzoia sugar companies “which are on their death beds”.

Mumias West MP Johnson Naicca blamed cheap imported sugar, which has contributed to an influx in the local sector, cane poaching and the low selling price, brought about by the increased global and regional supply, for poor performance of the sugar industry.