Kenya drops inspection fees for Tanzania food products

President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Samia Suluhu

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Tanzania’s Samia Suluhu at State House, Nairobi, on May 4, 2021.

Photo credit: PSCU

Kenya has scraped inspection fees for Tanzanian importers of processed foods approved by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.

This is just one of the decisions arrived at in a bilateral meeting between Kenya and Tanzania held in Arusha last week to thrash out trade barriers.

The meeting followed a directive by the two countries’ Heads of State during the visit of Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu in Kenya early last month.

The meeting was co-chaired by Tanzania’s Minister for Trade Kitila Mkumbo and his Kenya counterpart Betty Maina.

The two countries also resolved to normalise maize importation from Tanzania to Kenya which had largely stalled over the past few months following Kenya’s ban on grain from that country and Uganda over concerns of contamination.

The ban has  since seen maize imports from Tanzania and Uganda fall by 73 per cent, from 637,489 bags of 90-kg each in February to 146,707 bags in March, leading to a shortage that has seen the price of maize flour rise above Sh100 for a 2-kg packet.

Bilateral meeting

“The meeting reviewed progress made in implementing decisions from previous bilateral meeting and underscored the importance of ensuring they comply with the commitments made between the two countries,” read a joint statement by the two ministers.

“During this meeting, 64 issues were handled out of which 30 issues were resolved and decisions have been made on how to resolve the remaining 34. Further the parties agreed to meet in the next 90 days to assess the level of the implementation,” it said.

Kenya and Tanzania also resolved to harmonise domestic taxes, levies and fees that are charged on each other’s products, and gave a nod to the implementation of a Single Customs Territory to enhance the clearance of goods at their borders.

They also resolved to ensure compliance with the Rules of Origin and that preferential treatment to be accorded to products that qualify.

Tanzania is a significant trading partner of Kenya and is the second largest buyer of its goods in Africa only behind its regional peer Uganda.

It bought goods valued at Sh3.04 billion from Kenya in March up from Sh2.8 billion a month earlier, according to statistics from the Central Bank of Kenya.