The Kenya-Uganda sugar deal has thrown away the goodwill the government had earned when it gave Mumias Sugar Company Sh1 billion bailout, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi has said.
In a statement yesterday, he said any unregulated imports are a blank cheque for the “Lords of Sugar” to manipulate the market.
In the deal, Nairobi will import surplus sugar from Uganda in exchange for dairy products.
President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the bilateral deal during his three-day visit to Kampala at the weekend.
“Kenyans need to know what measures the government has taken to prevent unscrupulous importation of sugar from outside the Comesa protocol and channelling it through Uganda to circumvent the regulations under the Rules of Origin principles,” Mudavadi said.
“There is a classic example of re-packaging Brazilian sugar and dumping it in the Kenyan market.”
The local sugar industry is struggling, he said.
“The excuse of ‘balancing trade between our sister countries’ should not be used to enter into pacts that undermine local production,” Mudavadi said.
It amounts to placing a ransom on citizens for the befit of external friends. It is in “bad taste”, he said.
The former Deputy Prime Minister asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to disclose all the details of the deals.
“It cannot be that his Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed says there is no agreement while the President defends the alleged agreement. Is there a pact or not? This contradiction needs correcting,” he said.
Mudavadi said under Section 153 of the constitution, a CS must make full and open disclosure to Parliament of any pact entered into with a foreign entity.
“This means public disclosure,” he said.
The ANC leader said the lapse between signing a pact and disclosure to Parliament should not be used to permit dumping of cheap sugar in the market.
“The already-depressed production will suffer irreparable damage,” Mudavadi said.
He said the sugar industry sector needs urgent intervention.
“Livelihoods in the Western sugar belt are threatened due to unscrupulous practices leading to weakened and collapsing factories like Mumias, Nzoia and Chemelil,” Mudavadi said.
Mudavadi said efficiency and good governance are needed in the management of the sugar industry.