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September 25, 2018

End protective sugar tariff to fight smuggling

KRA destroys contraband goods among them sugar at the Port of Mombasa in February./FILE
KRA destroys contraband goods among them sugar at the Port of Mombasa in February./FILE

There is an ongoing crackdown on contraband sugar.

Some illegal sugar is smuggled in from Kismayu. Some avoids paperwork in Mombasa. Some is legitimate as it comes from factories that are allowed to import sugar to top up their quotas. Some lucky businessmen get licences to import sugar duty-free when there are shortages.

It is massively profitable importing sugar.

There is a 100 per cent tariff on imported sugar to protect inefficient Kenyan plantations that produce sugar at twice the world price. You can double your money overnight if you get a legal import licence or if you smuggle sugar into Kenya.

And the volumes are huge. More money is spent on sugar every day than is spent on petrol.

The solution is to end the protected market for sugar. Remove protective import tariffs for sugar, or reduce them to the Comesa level. Happy consumers would get cheaper sugar.

But sugar factories would go out of business so government would have to set up programmes to find profitable crops for small farmers to replace their sugar cane.

Quote of the day: "Dreams do come true, if we only wish hard enough, You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it."

J. M. Barrie

The Scottish author of Peter Pan died on June 19, 1937

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