The governments of Kenya and Tanzania have continued to block Ugandan milk and other dairy products from entering their countries despite leaders from the two countries meeting recently to resolve the stalemate.
According to the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries, Mr Frank Tumwebaze, Kenya and Tanzania have maintained high taxes on Ugandan milk, which are meant to discourage Ugandan exporters.
Tumwebaze’s concerns are contained in two letters he wrote on July 19 to his Kenyan and Tanzanian counterparts.
“The TShs2,000 Tanzania (about Shs3,000) levy is prohibitive and hence has hampered Ugandan milk exports to Tanzania solemnly,” the letter addressed to the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of Tanzania, Mr Adolf Mkenda reads in part.
Mr Tumwebaze also complained about the 1.75 per cent of FOB (Free on Board), Tsh30, 000 (about 46,000 Uganda Shillings) application fees to the Tanzania Dairy Board and 18 per cent Value Added Tax for all dairy products.
“This despite the fact that many discussions were held between our countries on the subject and the promised actions of removal of the same were not implemented, particularly the TShs2,000 levy imposed by your ministry,” Mr Tumwebaze wrote.
Mr Tumwebaze also protested to Mr Peter Gatirau Munya, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives, arguing that Ugandan milk products have also been restricted in the Kenyan market since January 2020.
“This is despite the fact that Ugandan government formally protested these actions by way of a protest note dated January 15,2021 and both countries are signed up to the East African Community framework,” he wrote.
Uganda maintains that if there are issues that need to be addressed, they can be handled through bilateral arrangements or the regional trade agreements within the East African Community instead of using arbitrary means suchas high taxes.
Kenya and Tanzania are yet to respond to the queries.
Since 2019, Kenya has restricting Uganda dairy products. In April, a joint committee was set up to solve the impasse between Kenya and Uganda for milk product trade to continue smoothly but the matter was never amicably resolved.