– Kenyan and Ugandan legislators met on Friday and they agreed to slap milk imports from Kampala to Nairobi with a 16% VAT
– This comes following growing concerns that cheap milk from Uganda is suffocating Kenya’s dairy industry
– Recently, milk producers in Nyandarua poured the commodity on the ground citing low price offers from processors and poor road network
– A section of Ugandans feels that if the new regulation is implemented, dairy farmers will lose a big share from the export business
– Some of them want their government to levy heavier taxes on Kenyan products like juices, and Kenya Airways
– They have also faulted the East African Community (EAC) claiming it is not protecting the interests of Ugandans
Since news broke that Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) will start slapping milk exports from Uganda with 16% tax, citizens from the neighbouring country have been up in arms protesting against the new levy.
The bilateral trade meeting that agreed to have the tax introduced, was convened in Uganda on Friday, December 20, and it comprised of lawmakers from Nairobi and Kampala.
It was resolved that the new tax will help cushion Kenya’s dairy industry from the influx of cheap milk from Uganda which has dealt a blow on local dairy farmers.
The meeting came hardly a month after farmers in Nyandarua poured their milk citing poor prices from the processors and degraded roads.
Through Twitter, Ugandan investor Robert Kabushenga, ignited a heated debate when he reacted on the development stating that his country also needed to impose up to 35% tax on Kenyan juices and vegetables.
Kabushenga added that Kampala should also not shy from slapping Kenya Airways with heavy landing fees in retaliation terming the hyped trade friendship between the sister countries as ‘nonsense’.
“We should retaliate! Impose 35% on their packed juice, mangoes and vegetables, then hit Kenya Airways with mega landing fees for good measure. We should stop this trying to be good neighbours nonsense every time,” the Vision Group CEO tweeted.
According to Kabushenga, the Kenyan delegation that travelled to Uganda was comprised of people who are stakeholders in the dairy sector.
The individuals, he said, acted for the interests of their businesses, unlike the Ugandan side whose diplomatic team does not have shareholders in the same sector.
“Problem is our diplomacy is conducted by people who are not stakeholders. In Kenya, the diplomats work on behalf of their business interests,” Kabushenga claimed.
A tweep identified as Businge Conan Daniel echoed the CEO’s sentiments and went ahead to criticise his country for being too good to an extent that it allows other counties to exploit its people.
“I agree. We are so much of soft now neighbours. Just see what’s happening on the opposite side of the country!” Daniel reacted.
Kitubi Martin and Charles Okanya said that it was time Uganda started focusing on other business frontiers to export its surplus milk to if Kenya had turned out to be an ungrateful neighbour.
The duo agreed that Uganda was the greatest importer of Kenyan goods besides also giving it (Kenya) a lot of revenue for using the Mombasa Port for imports.
“We should focus on DRC, and also look at maximising the Tanzanian route to Uganda. Ugandans pay a lot to clear goods at Mombasa and yet it is cheaper to clear the same goods at Dar el Salaam Port. We should stop being the nice guys, its time we looked for options,” Martin commented.
“Let’s open door to trade with DRC. They even have a larger population to feed compared to Kenya,”Okanya tweeted.
Here are other comments:
Kakogoso M – What is the use EAC? They have been telling us that trade is to be eased. Look at this?
Patrick Abila – Of course this East African thing is not respected by most members. Uganda is being taken for granted by EAC members. Why impose the VAT on our products and ban our eggs from entering your country?
Steven Odeke – In other words, we should stop being nice.
Godfrey Byaruhanga – First, let us stop lying to ourselves that there is such a thing as an East African Common Market. They are protectionist and so should we be. The aspiring East African emperor should look elsewhere. I mean nowhere.
Winifred Nakandi – That is our problem. Our local industries are not protected, and Kenya is protecting hers.
Kitubi Martin – Imagine Kenya benefits a lot from Uganda and yet we don’t have such fiscal policies on their goods. We have plastic companies in Uganda, but we import Kenlopy plastics. I request Uganda imposes similar policies to Kenyans.
Aine – No such vengeance is sustainable. Uganda has a bigger role to play in providing a better pricing environment to enable local consumption.
Luyimbazi Francisco – Those guys need to be disciplined using the same yardstick!
Eric Jn – Uganda can’t do without Kenya but Kenya can do without Uganda keep that in mind, 90% of our imports go through Mombasa port.
Robert Kabushenga – We pay for using Mombasa and they make a fortune off our imports. We are one of their biggest markets for their exports. Just go and look around our supermarket shelves. You will be surprised. So I don’t buy your view
Daudi I. Wangolo – Kenya has no dairy industry anymore. They import powder. Blaming Uganda is just a sideshow
Magnanimous – Could this be the beginning of the death of the so-called EAC’s Common market.
The incorruptible seed – From the ban and tariffs they continuously imposed on our exports, it seems it’s only Uganda interested in the EAC integration.
Unfortunately, we let our traders suffer alone without government intervention in the name of keeping bilateral relationships yet the same neighbours don’t care.
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