Maize buyers stuck at Namanga border over permits
The Namanga border point came to a standstill yesterday as dozens of maize importers camped at the customs offices to protest lack of permits to allow maize from Tanzania into the country.
Agitated transporters whose trucks are loaded with maize said they were incurring losses due to the stalemate. “We have been stuck here for days since we cannot be cleared. I have 600 bags of maize which I bought and waiting to supply to a local miller. My customer has already outsourced maize because we do not know how long the standoff will take. This is frustrating and a serious economy sabotage,” said Simon Mburu, a trader.
The transporters accused Tanzanian authorities for selling the maize to them but denying them permits at the border point.
“I have been stranded for the last one week with no hope of clearance. We are incurring colossal amounts in losses daily. Let the two governments ensure a seamless cross border trade,” said Samuel Mwaura.
Some traders said to have maize consignment valued up to Sh5million. Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA) Namanga secretary Zachary Mwangi said the new measures by Tanzania authority was to be effected from July.
“The Tanzania authority ought to have alerted the maize traders they will not be issuing export permits to traders in good time,” he said.
He urged the government to move with speed to save Kenyan traders from incurring further losses. “At least 200 trucks ferrying maize are stuck at the border.
A handful of trucks are on the way.Maize grains shortage in Kenya is alarming yet thousands tonnes of the commodity is held at the border point,” Mwangi said. Under the new guidelines issued by the Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary to be effected from July1, 2023 obtained by the Business Hub, Kenyan traders seeking to import maize from Tanzania will be required to open and register local offices in Dares salaam.
The stringent rules leaves grain traders with no option but to register with the Business Registrations and Licensing Agency (Brela) to obtain a trading permit.
Traders are also required to present tax clearance certificates and show business permits issued by Brela permitting them to trade in grain before they are allowed to export the grains.