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The return of import fee on Uganda eggs ruffles feathers

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Kenya and Uganda are staring at a new round of trade wars after Nairobi reintroduced a tax on eggs from the neighbouring country.

Uganda says the Kenyan government is now taxing its eggs at a rate of Sh72 per tray, bringing back a levy the neighbours suspended last December following bilateral talks.

Ugandan traders have protested the move, saying, it does not augur well for trade between the two countries.

“The implementation of levies on Ugandan eggs by Kenya is a bad policy and in violation of the East African Community policy of free movement of goods and services originating from the member states,” Godfrey Oundo Ogwabe, the chairperson Uganda National Cross Border Trade is quoted by the Daily Monitor.

Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai said the charges could be a normal levy that is imposed on imports. He said he had no specific information but that this could be the normal levy Kenya Revenue Authority imposes on imports.

Long-standing dispute

The new trade tiff comes at a time the two countries are yet to resolve a long-standing dispute on milk after Kenya barred Uganda’s dairy products in 2019.

In the last two years, Kenya restricted Ugandan poultry and dairy product imports, straining the relationship between the two neighbours.

The poultry issue was resolved after Uganda threatened to ban Nairobi from exporting its goods to the landlocked neighbour.

In November, Uganda’s Cabinet had directed its Agriculture ministry to identify and list Kenyan products that would be banned by Kampala “in a short time” in retaliation against Kenya’s continued restriction on its agricultural products.

Key agricultural exports to Uganda from Kenya include palm oil at Sh7.2 billion in 2020, sorghum (Sh1.4 billion), vegetables (Sh311 million) and legumes (Sh200 million).

Left to rot on trucks

Kenya and Uganda have, for a long time, had trade wrangles, but the latest hostilities between the two East African Community states began brewing in December 2019, when Kenya stopped importing Ugandan milk, specifically the Lato brand.

In 2020, Kenya blocked Ugandan sugar and sugarcane, costing traders who were exporting raw cane to sugar mills billions of shillings as the raw material was left to rot on trucks at the border.

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