More than 200 trucks importing maize stuck at Namanga border over permit impasse

Namanga trucks

At least 200 trucks importing maize into the country stuck at Namanga border in this photo taken on June 7,2023. 

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho I Nation Media Group

At least 200 trucks ferrying maize into the country are stuck at Kenya -Tanzania Namanga border after the Tanzania authority stopped issuing exportation permits.

Some of these trucks have been stuck at the border-Tanzania area of jurisdiction, for the last one week.

Traders are  said to be counting colossal amounts of losses especially those who had hired trucks to ferry the grains into the country.

Tanzania Authority has forthwith  stopped issuance of export permits to Kenyan traders leaving them stranded with maize consignment at the Namanga border point.

A Nation spot check on Wednesday indicated dejected traders.Trucks ferrying the rare commodity were parked at the yard with more trucks streaming in by each hour.

Maize traders and clearing agents palaysed activities at the border point demanding clearance of the stuck trucks.Both customs offices,both Tanzania and Kenya, were brought to the stand still.

Some of the traders sat pensively at the parking lot pavements after failed  frantic efforts to have their consignments cleared.Trucks drivers were seemingly tired and hopeless with some threatening to offload the cargo at the parking lot.

Mr Sammy Mwaura-Brotherhood Transporter from Nakuru told Nation he has been held since Tuesday last week. He was ferrying 100 bags of maize from Katesi in Tanzania but he was informed he could not be cleared by Tanzania authority.

"I have been stranded for the last one week with no hope of clearance.We are incurring colossal amounts in losses daily.Lets the two governments ensure a seamless cross border trade," He said.

A trader with several trucks of maize at the border,who spoke in confidence,told Nation he had bought maize worth Sh 10 Million with hope to make a tidy profit in the Kenyan market.

"I had an order to supply maize to a local miller.Am not unable to supply despite having borrowed the capital from a local financial institution,"He said bitterly.

Kenya International Freight & Warehousing Association (KEFWA) Namanga secretary Zachary Mwangi said  the new measures by Tanzania authority was to be effected from July.

Mr Mwangi said Kenyan traders are on the verge of losing hundred millions in case the stalemate will not be solved amicably.

"The Tanzania authority ought to have alerted the maize traders they will not be issuing export permits to traders in good time.Our efforts to reach the relevant authorities have hit a snag,"Said Mr Mwangi.

He further urged the government to move with speed to save Kenyan traders from incurring heavy losses.

"At least 200 trucks ferrying maize are stuck at the border. Maize grains shortage in Kenya is alarming yet thousands tonnes of the commodity is held at the border point," he added.

Under the new guidelines issued by the Tanzania Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary to be effected from 1st July 2023 obtained by Nation,Kenyan traders seeking to import maize from Tanzania will be required to open and register local offices in Dares salaam.

The stringent rules leave 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.