EDIBLE OILS QUALITY

Manufacturers ask Munya to stop release of Sh10bn edible oil

KAM wants standards of edible oils upheld to safeguard consumers health

In Summary

• Earlier this week, the National Assembly Committee on Trade stopped the release of the 503 containers of edible oil imported into the country last year.

•KAM said It is also important that the matter is dealt with swiftly to prevent market distortion, by giving an unfair advantage to the imported edible oil. 

Parliamentary committee chairman on Trade Kanini Kega with vice chairman Cornelly Serem and MP Daniel Maazo inspect the imported edible oil in Mombasa on Monday, August 19, 2019.
Parliamentary committee chairman on Trade Kanini Kega with vice chairman Cornelly Serem and MP Daniel Maazo inspect the imported edible oil in Mombasa on Monday, August 19, 2019.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers has asked Trade Cabinet Secretary to put on hold the release of contested edible oils imports.

In a statement, KAM said that it had written to the CS asking that he reconsiders his decision until the matter is settled.

They were reacting on an ongoing controversy of the release of imported edible oils worth Sh10 billion.

"We have written to the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Peter Munya, and requested him to reconsider this decision especially in light of the health and safety concerns of all citizens," the statement read.

It added that KAM had also written to Interior CS Fred Matiang’i in his capacity as Chair of the National Development Implementation Committee for the Big Four Agenda, to request for an urgent meeting on this critical issue.

Earlier this week, the National Assembly Committee on Trade stopped the release of the 503 containers of edible oil imported into the country last year.

The Kanini Kega-led committee said Kenya Bureau of Standards last year declared the oil, imported from Asian countries, unfit for consumption as it did not have Vitamin A.

On August 1,  Trade CS Peter Munya, ordered the release of the consignment into the local market. He issued a waiver to the importers. 

Munya stood firm on the decision to release the controversial Sh10 billion worth of edible oils, saying the decision was reached by a multi-agency team, including the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

But the manufacturers said that the Government, through the fortification standards, requires that all edible oils imported or sold in the country are fortified with vitamin A to correct or prevent a demonstrated micronutrient deficiency.

"The Multi-Agency Taskforce’s objective is to ensure that goods coming into the country are of good quality, will not distort the market through unfair competition, and most importantly, are fit for human consumption," the statement read.

KAM said it would want to see the allegations urgently investigated and the required standards upheld in order to safeguard the health and safety of consumers in the country.

They said it is also important that the matter is dealt with swiftly to prevent market distortion, by giving an unfair advantage to the imported edible oil.

The association also said there is a need to ensure that any duties imposed on the imported oil are paid.