By Spy Uganda
Kampala: Ugandan Manufacturers under their umbrella body, the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) are decrying the continued blockage of Ugandan goods from entering the Kenyan market saying this is a violation of the East African Community (EAC) common market protocol.
Addressing a news conference in Kampala on Thursday, UMA Executive Director Daniel Birungi said, it has been over a year since Kenya blocked Ugandan goods from entering Kenya giving excuses of quality, smuggling, instituting permits which Ugandan manufacturers say are out of the agreed upon regional market protocols.
Though officials from the two countries have met several times to discuss the matter, no positive response has been achieved.
Now that the country has lost over USD120 millions as a result of the impasse, Ugandan manufacturers are giving their government up to December 25, to take action or else they seek redress from the EAC Court.
Among the goods manufactured in Uganda being blocked from entering the Kenyan market include, milk, sugar, gas cylinders among others.
Earlier this year, Uganda threatened to reconsider her position on the East African Community Customs Union Protocol and impose retaliatory taxes after Kenya seized its milk products on their market.
In a protest letter to Kenya, the Ugandan government said it was “exercising maximum restraint but reserves the right to reconsider this position.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote to the Kenyan High Commissioner in Kampala, protesting Kenya’s continued behaviour to impose unwarranted tax restrictions on milk and other dairy products exported to the country.
“The government of the Republic of Uganda protests the manner within which authorities in Kenya have continued to deliberately constrain and impose unwarranted restrictions on the smooth importation of Uganda’s milk and milk products into Kenya,” the letter reads in part.
Kenya blocked Uganda’s milk and dairy products, particularly Lato Milk on claims that Ugandan companies are exporting counterfeit and substandard products.
Kenya had seized 262,632 litres of Ugandan milk valued at $157,106 (about Shs573m) and 54,310kg of powdered milk at $203,630 (about Shs743m) in two weeks.
Uganda said the seizure of the dairy products was illegal since they had been cleared by the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Dairy Board, Kenya Bureau of Standards and port health services.