Kenya will not be given another extension on sugar quota imports once the current one comes to an end next year March, an official at the Common Market for Eastern and Sothern Africa (Comesa) has said.
Addressing a media workshop in Livingstone, Zambia, director of Comesa Competition Commission George Lipimile said granting of more extension will go against the rule of competition and encourage laxity in development of the sugar sector in Kenya.
Kenya won an extension of special safeguards on the importation of duty-free sugar from Comesa member states in March this year, giving the country more time to complete reforms in the ailing industry.
“So far, we have accorded Kenya three extensions, which have gone past required limits of two safeguard periods. And all along, there is not much that the sector has achieved in line with the requirements,” said Mr Lipimile.
He noted that the Comesa law on competition is not concerned with protecting particular competitors in the market.
This implies that local millers will have to grapple with the presence of low cost sugar from Comesa countries, which will make Kenyan sugar uncompetitive in the market.
The decision allows Kenya to limit the entry of imported sugar to the 350,000 tonnes needed to meet its annual production deficit.