The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has come out to defend firms named in importation of sugar amid an ongoing crackdown on illegal sweetener.
KAM chief executive officer, Flora Mutahi, says producers have been unfairly targeted in a move that is affecting their operations in the region.
The lobby says it's members have had difficulties selling their products in Uganda and Tanzania because these countries demand they pay a 25 per cent duty given that the sugar that they used in manufacturing was imported to Kenya duty free.
Thus, the authorities argue that this makes it difficult to compete favourably with goods produced locally in neighbouring countries.
Member States of the East African Community (EAC) pay 10 per cent duty remission on industrial sugar that they import. Uganda and Tanzania argued that Kenya imported the commodity tax free, hence cannot be allowed to sell confectioneries and ice creams in their countries without paying a 25 per cent duty.
Chairman of Kenafric Industries Ltd, Bharat Shah, said they have faced a lot of difficulties in exporting their goods to Kenya's neighbours.
“We have suffered immense losses because these countries want us to pay a 25 per cent duty to access their market,’ he said.
Addressing a news conference Thursday, Ms Mutahi said the manufacturers did not import table sugar during the period when the gazette notice was published by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.
"These allegations that we imported table sugar are unfair to manufacturers...They did not import table sugar during the duty free window last year, " said Ms Mutahi.
She said the manufacturers named in the list submitted to parliament by Agriculture Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri are licensed to import refined white sugar for industrial use.