The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has introduced stringent regulations for sugar imports as part of the State’s duty-free import initiative, which was recently gazetted to address the pressing shortage of locally produced sugar.
This move comes after the Cabinet’s approval to extend duty-free imports in an effort to control soaring sugar prices, which had reached an unprecedented Sh250 per kilogram due to the scarcity of the commodity within the country.
With significant quantities of sugar expected to enter the market, Kebs in a report indicated its aims to prevent potential exploitation by unscrupulous traders.
All imported sugar accompanied by Certificates of Conformity (CoCs) will undergo mandatory re-inspection and testing at the port of entry, a process that will be conducted free of charge.
The agency specified that sampling will be carried out in the presence of the importer or their appointed agent, with the goal of verifying compliance with relevant standards.
According to the newly established regulations, imported sugar originating from countries where Kebs has designated inspection companies and is lacking CoCs will be subject to inspection upon arrival, incurring a fee equivalent to five percent of the approved customs value.
“The sampling will take place in the presence of the importer or appointed agent and will be subjected to tests to verify compliance with the relevant requirements of the standards,” said the agency in a notice.
Sugar shipments from countries where Kebs has contracted inspection agents will also be subject to destination inspection, but the fee will be equivalent to 0.6 percent of the approved customs value, along with testing fees where applicable.
This new development by Kebs is intended to ensure the quality and compliance of imported sugar during a period of increased demand resulting from the suspension of sugar milling operations in July, which aimed to address the sugarcane shortage primarily affecting western Kenya, a region critical to commercial sugarcane production in the country.