Poultry farmers protest new Kenyan tax on eggs

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Kenya has imposed a 25 percent excise duty on imported eggs, in addition to the delayed approval of import permits affecting farmers.
Poultry farmers protested the new tax imposed on Ugandan eggs by Kenyan authorities.

In a letter sent to the Uganda Producers Association (UMA) on February 10, farmers asked the government to take action with Kenyan authorities on the issue.

“Kenya is directly deterring trade with Uganda by imposing this duty. For this reason, egg prices have also stagnated and many of our farmers are struggling to survive in the market.”

The tax comes after an agreement dated December 21, 2021, under which Kenya pledged to lift the ban on poultry and related imports from Uganda. by covid.

ECA protocol

Speaking in an interview yesterday, PAU president Mr. Aga Sekalala Junior said that the tax is now a real non-tariff barrier that goes against East African Community protocols.

“EAC protocols say there shouldn’t be any taxes. This is inappropriate and we are not happy about it. The market needs to be open,” he said, noting that Kenya continues to impose taxes in a way that is reasonable according to the mood of the season.

According to Sekalala, the tax was successfully challenged in court by traders affiliated with the Kenya Egg Traders Association and an injunction was issued. The traders had submitted their petitions to the Kisumu High Court.

In April, the court passed an interim order banning the government from collecting or levying taxes on table eggs imported from Uganda.

However, on 9 June, the Daily Monitor reported that the head of Uganda’s National Cross-Border Traders, Mr Godfrey Oundo Ogwabe, stated that taxes on eggs continued despite the court order.

Mr Ogwabe said the tax was a bad policy and violated the East African Community’s policy of free movement of goods and services from member states.

This week, the East African newspaper reported that Harry Kimtai, Kenya’s Chief Secretary of Livestock, said he had no specific knowledge of the matter, saying that the tax could be a normal fee applied to imports.

Regarding the issue yesterday, Emmanuel Mutahunga, Foreign Trade Commissioner of the Ministry of Commerce, said that they have not received any official communication from their colleagues in Kenya.

“Normally, non-tariff barriers are investigated after complaints about whether they actually happen,” he said, urging traders to share documents showing they had received this tax.

“If traders pay the tax, they have to bring the documents. It will be taken from there. Otherwise, it will remain a rumor,” he said, adding that nothing has changed from the December 2021 agreement for the government.

However, Sekalala said they reported everything to government officials but nothing was done.

“We have reported our dilemma to the relevant ministries. They are aware,” he said.

Longstanding dispute

The new trade controversy comes at a time when the two countries have yet to resolve a long-standing dairy dispute after Kenya banned Uganda’s dairy in 2019.

Kenya has strained relations between the two neighbours by restricting Ugandan imports of poultry and dairy products over the past two years.

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

In November, the Ugandan Cabinet instructed the Agriculture ministry to identify and list Kenyan products that would be banned “soon” by Kampala in retaliation for Kenya’s continued restrictions.

Agricultural products

Significant agricultural exports from Kenya to Uganda include palm oil, sorghum (1.4 billion Sh), vegetables (311 million Sh) and legumes (200 million Sh), with Sh 7.2 billion in 2020.

Uganda egg export quantities

According to PAU, its members export more than 500,000 trays per month mainly to Kenya, South Congo Congo and South Sudan.

From these exports, the country earns over Shs 5 billion per month. This translates to an annual export value of Shs 60 billion. The country has more than 30 large and medium farms nationwide with tier 3 million population.

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