Uganda dismisses claims that Kenya slashed its sugar export quota

UGANDA – The government of Uganda has refuted claims that Kenya has cut the country’s sugar export quota by 79%.

Recent reports indicated that Kenya had revised the allocated sugar imports quota for Uganda by cutting the allowable quantities of the commodity into the country to import 18,923 tonnes of sugar down from 90,000 tonnes.

With the changes it was deemed that countries from the Southern Africa will account for the largest share of imports under the regional market window with eSwatini lead the pack with 68,959 tonnes followed by Zambia at 41,152 tonnes and Mauritius bringing in 36,036 tonnes.

However, the Ministry of Trade Industry and Co-operatives Uganda in a statement dated August 31, 2021, stated that the report was a misrepresentation of facts.

Setting the record straight, the Trade Ministry Permanent Secretary, Geraldine Ssali, highlighted that Uganda’s sugar export to Kenya is governed by two regimes: COMESA Kenya sugar safeguard and the EAC/bilateral trade regimes.

In that regard, following the April 2021 Uganda-Kenya bilateral ministerial meeting, Ssali said Uganda’s annual sugar export quota to Kenya was increased from 55,000 tonnes to 90,000 tonnes consisting of both the COMESA Kenya sugar Safeguard and the bilateral quotas.

Under the COMESA Kenya sugar safeguard, the quota available to all COMESA sugar exporting countries, including Uganda, is calculated using a formula adopted by the COMESA council of ministers.

The formula assigns a weight of 30 % to ‘ Intra – COMESA Sugar Trade ‘ and 70 % to Surplus Sugar for each respective country, applied in the context of the projected Kenya sugar deficit.

The data used in the application of the formula is from internationally accredited sources, notably the International Sugar Organization (ISO) and the COMESA.

In view of that, the sugar export quota available to Uganda in 2021 under the COMESA Kenya Sugar Safeguard window is 18,923.63MT.

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The balance of the 90,000MT annual quota ( i.e. 71,076.37MT ) is catered for under the EAC / Bilateral window.

“Therefore, the story only considered the quota available under the COMESA Kenya Sugar Safeguard window and left out the bilateral window. Subsequently, there was a misrepresentation of facts,” stated Ssali.

She further revealed that as at the end of June 2021, Uganda had exported 31,256.95MT to Kenya – well above the 18,923.63MT that the report claimed to be the new quota allocation after the ‘79 per cent cut ‘.

Prior to the April 2021 bilateral agreement, Kenya had stopped Uganda from exporting its sugar to its market on claims that the commodity was being imported and repackaged before being dumped in the country.

The leading East African economy tasked Uganda to provide verifiable evidence that would help in reducing smuggling and re-bagging of non-originated sugar.

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