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Trade War Looms As Kenya Returns 19 Trucks Of Milk To Uganda

Boxes of seized Lato Milk that the Kenyan authorities returned to Uganda. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]

Kenya returned at least 19 trucks carrying powdered and UHT milk to Uganda, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has revealed.

In a move that could trigger trade wars between the two countries, with top officials in Uganda say that Kenya has not provided ‘substantial’ explanation.

The milk valued at over Ksh27 million is said to have been seized by Kenyan police even after being cleared by the Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service.

Read: President Uhuru Kenyatta Orders 16PC VAT On Milk Products Imported From Outside EAC

In a counter mover, Uganda is said to be targeting a number of goods, key among them juices, assorted household items and roofing materials from Kenya.

The matter on the Kenyan side is said to be beyond customs, according to URA commissioner for customs Dicksons Kateshumbwa as quoted by the Daily Monitor.

“You see the Kenyan authorities have continued to do what they were doing [seizures]. Unfortunately, we don’t know why this is happening,” he said.

Read: Milk Products From Uganda On Influx, Eating Up Market For Local Farmers

Already, Ugandan officials last week issued a rare diplomatic rebuke to Kenya, over the continued blockage of milk exports by Uganda-based Pearl Dairies to Kenya.

Reports by the East African indicate that the obstruction in Kenya of delivery trucks carrying Pearl Dairies products has so far cost the company $0.6 million (Ksh60 million)

Another 32 trucks laden with milk are stranded at different points between the Pearl Dairies processing plant in Mbarara and the common border at Busia.

Read: Brookside Dairy On The Spot As Customer Purchases “Diluted Milk” (Video)

Between January 1 and 12, the DCI has confiscated 54 tonnes of powdered milk and 140,000 litres of Long Life milk from Pearl Dairies and its distributors, citing nonconformity to standards and smuggling.

Pearl Dairies case, which has capacity to process 500,000 litres a day, has been accused by Kenyan authorities of reconstituting cheap imported milk powder from Austria, thereby violating the EAC Rules of Origin.

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Written by Francis Muli

Senior reporter at Kahawa Tungu, Muli has a passion for human interest stories. He believes in unearthing societal rots that have been hidden from the public eye. He has also carved himself a niche in writing business stories. He has worked for various organisations including Kenya Television Service, Business Today among others. Follow him on Twitter @FmuliKE.
Email: [email protected]

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