After refusing to sign a memorandum of understanding with the government pledging that the grain they ship in will enter the nation for Sh4,200 for a 90-kilo bag, Millers have been barred from importing maize.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the millers’ refusal to make a commitment forced the administration to grant traders at least 50 licenses. Harsama Kellow, the principal secretary for agriculture, stated that the imports are intended to bring down the price of flour and that the maize must arrive at a certain price in order to have a good effect on the staple.
“Our officers have interacted with the millers in regard to pricing and they have said that they are uncomfortable with the Sh4,200 that we want them to import at,” said Mr Kellow in an interview with Business Daily.
“The aim of these imports is to lower the cost of flour and we cannot allow millers to import maize at any price that they want as this will not meet the government objective,” said the PS.
He asserted that they have the authority to place restrictions on imports as a government and that millers must abide with these requirements.
Last month, millers claimed that the government was trying to lock them out by refusing them licences and failing to clarify import regulations.
To alleviate the country’s scarcity, which has kept the price of maize flour high with a two-kilo packet retailing for Sh180, the government last December permitted millers and traders to import 10 million bags of maize duty-free.
As of December of the previous year, at least 250 traders and 22 millers had requested import permits to bring in maize during the duty-free window.