Mediamax Network Limited

Importers petition Uhuru over edible oils seizure at port

Edible oils importers have protested continued detention of their products at the Mombasa port for over two months.

They wrote to President Uhuru Kenyatta explaining their tribulations since the cargo worth millions of shillings was detained for inspection in the ongoing crackdown on counterfeit products.

The importers want an amnesty period on all edible oil products that arrived at the port before June 30 like one issued to importers of consolidated cargo and ready-made garments.

“We humbly request that we pay import duty for remaining containers at the previous rate of 25 per cent and FOB value of $11 (Sh1,100) per jerry can,” the group said in a petition.

They sought to know why having imported the same product from the same source for ten years, Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has never raised an issue of vitamin A level content.

A fortnight ago, Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Cabinet secretary Peter Munya said  63 per cent of the edible oils imports seized recently did not meet the required vitamin A standards. Importers were given 30 days to reship the oil.

But importers wondered why all vegetable oil products imported since June 1 have failed Vitamin A level content test despite clearance for shipment and issuance of certificate of conformity and the diamond mark of quality, which confirms the presence of Vitamin A content levels by their agent.

“We want to know why Kebs ignores reports from their own appointed agent, SGS, which ensure products adhere to the Kenyan standard before shipment,” they said.