Tanzania wants Kenya to pay USD22M debt owed by Uchumi Supermarket

Uchumi shut its stores in Tanzania and Uganda in 2015 as it sought to stem further losses, but the retailer left behind a huge trail of debt owed to suppliers.

Tanzania wants the Kenyan Government to take responsibility for the debt to its suppliers accrued by the distressed retailer’s Tanzanian subsidiary that was shut in 2015.

Dr Kiptoo however, outrightly rejected the demand by the Tanzanian delegation and said while the Government has about 14 per cent stake in Uchumi, it has no control over the supermarket.

“Uchumi is listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange and regulated by Capital Markets Authority,” said the PS.

Uchumi shut its stores in Tanzania and Uganda in 2015 as it sought to stem further losses but the NSE-listed retailer left behind a huge trail of debt owed to suppliers.

The Government in December last year gave Uchumi Sh700 million ($7,000,000) which the retail chain used for restocking.

After the meeting in which the two countries committed to resolve their differences and address barriers hindering trade between the two countries, Dr. Kiptoo said they had agreed to come up with a national trade policy which would ensure that all suppliers were paid within the shortest time possible.

“There should be a code of practice between the retailer and supplier. Any person supplying perishable goods should be paid within 14 days and not wait 30 days to get paid,” he said.

The management of Uchumi and Nakumatt supermarkets are reported to have briefed the senior officials from the two governments on the way forward and the road map for settling the outstanding debt.

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