The Kenyan government has said the unfortunate incident where Zambian sugar exports into that country were marooned at a border was not intended and has described the incident as unfortunate, the Post of Zambia reported on Thursday.
A convoy of 10 trucks carrying sugar from Zambia destined for the Kenyan market was delayed into that country at the border due to an accusation by Kenyan border officials that Zambia doesn’t produce any sugar and that the consignment being exported into Kenya was from South Africa and was therefore expected to pay duty.
This move forced the Zambian government to retaliate by revoking provisions of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) trade protocols to apply duty on all goods imported from Kenya.
But Kenya’s High Commissioner to Zambia Kipyego Cheluget said his government has no issue with Zambian sugar.
“Like in any other relationships, misunderstandings arise and we always do our best to address them. In this unfortunate incident, there was a misunderstanding by our revenue authorities with regard to the sugar consignment to Kenya because in 2011-2012, Kenya desperately sent out a call for supply of sugar from COMESA region and most of the member states including Zambia happened to have no stocks to sell,” he was quoted as saying by the paper.
He said it was with that background that Kenyan revenue authorities took caution to verify the consignment that was at the border, adding that the issue took unexpectedly too long until it was reported to Zambian authorities.
The Kenyan envoy however said officials from the embassy have met with their Zambian counterparts and have so far made a commitment to follow up the matter, which he said has since been resolved.
“At the time the Mission met with permanent secretary and the director (at the Zambian Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry) on 8th February, 2013, one of the 10 trucks had been cleared. Six trucks were cleared between 12th and 19th February, 2013. The three trucks that remained had a problem with information on the documentation from the import/export verification agents and the documents presented to Kenya Bureau of Standards and this has to be verified and confirmed before Kenya Revenue Authority could process them,” he added.