Corn importation

Battles over corn import regulation

Last updated on September 11th, 2021 at 02:48 pm

The stakes around maize importation have always been high, but they could have just gone a notch higher.

Government agencies are now engaged in a fierce behind-the-scenes battles over which one of them should be in charge.

Meanwhile, the High Court early this month temporarily halted a government plan to import four million bags of maize over a dispute as to who should bring in the cereals, and reports that what the National Treasury ordered is substandard and poisonous.

At the centre of the high-stakes game is the speed with which National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani moved to disband the Strategic Food Reserve Trust Fund (SFRTF) without reference to the National Assembly. The matter is before court.

Who will take over the Sh10 billion the Fund has in its bank accounts, as well as its functions, assets and liabilities is another point of contention.

In March, Cabinet directed that SFRTF be wound up within six months. To do this, Section 24(8) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012 requires that the Treasury Cabinet Secretary must get the approval of the National Assembly.

However, on April 14, Mr Yatani published in the Kenya Gazette the notice of revocation of the Public Finance Management (Strategic Food Reserve Trust Fund) Regulations, 2015.

The Fund was set up by these regulations, the revocation meant the Fund ceased to exist. The Fund would have been the one to take charge of the emergency importation of maize to avert a possible food crisis in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.