The government has extended duty-free maize imports for two more months to allow maize imports to ship in the products to ease the cereal shortage, pushing up the cost of maize flour.
National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani in May suspended import tax on maize to increase imports from outside the East African Community (EAC) in a bid to ease pressure on maize flour prices.
Kenya is a net importer of maize, a staple food in the country, but has traditionally restricted imports to cushion local maize farmers but at a cost to consumers who are forced to pay a higher cost for maize.
Ukur Yatani opened a three-month window for importers to bring in up to 540,000 metric tonnes of duty-free maize up to August 6.
The importers had complained that the initial window was too short to allow them to ship maize from overseas such as Mexico, arguing that the duty-waiver would achieve little as the ships loaded with the product would dock after the window had closed.
The CS has now extended the window for two more months until September 30 to allow maize importers who had ordered their production time to bring it into the country.
“It is notified for the general information of the public that, upon recommendation by the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury amends the Gazette Notice No. 5544 of May 9, 2022, by deleting the words “August 6, 2022” and substituting therefor the words “September 30, 2022,” Ukur Yatani in a gazette notice.
Kenya imports maize from the EAC — mostly Uganda and Tanzania — duty-free but imports from countries that are not members of the EAC or the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) at 50 percent tariff.