Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi informed the National Assembly’s Agriculture committee that the government had waived Kes3.3 billion in taxes on maize imports and Kes13.2 billion on rice. However, he did not disclose the value of waivers on sugar imports during the period from January to September 2023.
On December 22, 2022, the government approved the duty-free importation of 100,000 tonnes of sugar. Despite this, Mr. Linturi stated that 163,827MT of sugar had been imported into the country, suggesting that the duty-free imports may have flooded the market.
Over the past few months, the government prohibited local sugar millers from crushing cane, citing crop immaturity. This ban is expected to be lifted in December.
The government has not provided a satisfactory explanation for the sustained high prices despite the duty-free imports. Additionally, Kenyans are now facing increased taxes, raising concerns about the government’s decision to offer importers billions in tax subsidies.
CS Linturi encountered difficulties while explaining to the Agriculture committee, led by Tigania West MP John Mutunga, why the government experienced a revenue shortfall of Kes16.5 billion between January and September.