More than 150 truckloads of maize cannot cross into Kenya at the Namanga border because Tanzanian authorities ran short of permits.
A senior source from the Tanzania Revenue Authority told the Star in Namanga town on Wednesday the issuance of maize permits to Kenyan maize exporters ceased two weeks ago.
“The Tanzanian government is in the process of streamlining the issuance of maize permits in July, and the shortage of permits hit us about two weeks ago,” the official who sought anonymity said.
The senior Tanzanian official said his government had noted that inside the Kenyan traders importing the maize were brokers who are securing the permits and selling the same at exorbitant prices, which is going against the East African Community’s interest.
“As by now, these trucks carrying maize from our country will not be able to cross over to Kenya until we have secured the permits for them. That is a law requirement,” said the senior official.
But the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Namanga branch) chairperson, Alex Seita, apportioned blame to the Tanzanian government, claiming that it allowed the Kenyan businessmen to buy the maize and later refused them permits to cross back to their county.
“This is like you selling me a car and denying me its logbook. That is not fair at all. Some of the maize in the trucks are getting worse because of moisture. They were harvested when they had not completely dried,” said Seita.
He said he has tried to Kenyan senior officials for the last two weeks but nothing has happened so far.
The Kenyan business people at the border town expressed their frustrations saying that the more than 150 trucks locked in Tanzania is causing them unnecessary cost.
The truck drivers are saying they are incurring losses in terms of parking fees, food and lodging in the last two weeks.
The maize importers have paralysed their operations at a time there is a dwindling maize supply chain in Kenya and increased cost of maize flour prices.
The importers appealed to the Ministry of Trade to intervene and allow their maize to cross the border.
Kenya is majorly relying on maize stocks from Tanzania to meet the rising demand for flour after the supply in the local market fizzled out and as the country is waiting for their harvest from October to November in Trans Nzoia and the western region.
The standoff, it is claimed, has been witnessed in other Kenya-Tanzania borders like Isbania in Migori, Lunga Lunga in the Kenyan coast, and Loitokitok in Kajiado.