Kenya: Comesa’s Extends Sugar Safeguards and Demands Privatisation

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) trading block has agreed to extend the sugar safeguards until 2012, with the condition that Kenya must privatise the sugar mills.
“The ministers also demanded that the Government grants the necessary approval for the privatisation of all remaining publicly owned sugar mills within the first 12 months of the safeguards extension,” said Mr David Nalo, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Comesa extended the safeguard to 2012 on condition that Kenya meets the new requirement. The extension will allow the conclusion of a review of the sugar sub-sector by the Comesa secretariat, which includes the changing of the cane pricing formula from the one based on cane weight to sucrose content. “It is now the responsibility of all the stakeholders involved to ensure that the agreed measures are implemented to enable the sugar industry become competitive,” Nalo said.
The decision by Comesa to grant Kenya an extension means that the country would continue charging a duty of 120 per cent for all the imported sugar over the next four years.
The agreement was reached after Kenya successfully pleaded its case, arguing that the local sugar industry was not prepared for competition and that the Government was yet to sell a number of sugar companies that have been struggling with mounting debts.
Based on an article by Tom Mogusu and Benson Kathuri – The Standard, Kenya.

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