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State’s renewed plan to curb ethanol smuggling

Tuesday, March 5th, 2024 07:00 | By
Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo. PHOTO/Courtesy
Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo. PHOTO/Print

The government has reaffirmed its commitment to intensifying operations control at the border points with neighbouring Tanzania and Uganda to curb smuggling of ethanol and explosives into the country.

Namanga border has been singled out as the notorious entry of ethanol as traders sneak in the product for the production of illicit brews, which have claimed lives, especially within the Central region.

Other goods the government is raising concern about are imported explosives destined for mining industries but are subverted to manufacture illegal weapons thus threatening security.

According to Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo, the government has transitioned from a reactive approach to a proactive coordinated approach to curb illegal trade and smuggling of illicit and contraband goods through major entry points along the Kenyan borders.

“When borders are not well manned there is movement whether it is contraband and movement of immigrants and we are basically trying to control and contain that. For ethanol, in the last several months, there has been heightened conversation allowing alcohol, drug and substance abuse,” the PS said.

According to Omollo, those involved in the production of second generation alcoholic drinks, ethanol is an important ingredient.

“It has become very attractive to get ethanol from neighbouring countries. And we are trying to control that space and putting our officers to be on high alert. Importation of ethanol has to be done within the confines of the stated regulations.”

“We have challenges particularly at the border points with Tanzania, where through Namanga, ethanol still finds its way into the country and is the same story with our border point with Uganda. Going forward the government is committed to putting an end to the smuggling of these products,” the PS stated.

Border points

Omollo spoke when he rolled out the reviewed Kenya Coordinated Border Management Programme which coincided with the launch of training of the ninth cohort of State officials working at various border points and point of entries in the country. 

He termed the programme a groundbreaking initiative that reflects the commitment of the government to fortify and safeguard national borders.  The government has partnered with International Organisation of Migration Kenya (IOM-K) to implement the training.

“The team is from all the relevant agencies stationed at major border points. IOM has worked with us since 2014 when Controlled Border Management Operations was set up. The curriculum that we have launched today is an upgraded version to respond to realities of challenges of border management and control that continues to change from time to time in terms of complexity,” PS Omollo said.

Programme involves various agencies within government internally and regionally to ensure that as people move in and out of the country and as cross border trade flourish, the security of the nation remains intact.

While committing to sponsor two more cohorts of trainees under the programme later in the year, IOM-K recognised the substantial efforts made by the government of Kenya on enhancing border management capacities for facilitating legitimate trade and travel.

“Many of the achievements including the setting up of Border Control and Operations Coordination Committee, Border Management System and adopting the whole of government and society approach is something many countries in the region and beyond are visiting Kenya to benchmark,” IOM-K Deputy Chief of Mission Faisal Sharif said.

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