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Kiraitu, Munya quarrel over new miraa rules

Traders will now have to pay a certain levy per kilo for imports and exports

Agriculture CS Peter Munya (right) and Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi.

New miraa regulations have caused a rift between Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya with the former describing them as illegal and unconstitutional.

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The regulations intend to introduce a Sh30 levy on each kilo of miraa that are set to be exported as well as a Sh60 levy per kilo for all imports as well as their related products. The money is expected to be paid to the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA).

A person who fails, neglects or otherwise refuses to pay or remit the regulatory levy on time as provided for under these regulations where directed by the Authority in writing, in addition to paying the regulatory levy shall have a sum equal to five per cent of the amount added to the amount due for each month or part thereof during which the amount due remains unpaid,” read the regulations in part.

Aside from the levies placed on the exports and imports, a gazette notice published on June 9, included other provisions such as guidelines on safety during harvest and packaging as well as licences to the traders.

According to the Governor, the regulations are illegal as he cited a lack of extensive public participation. “Agriculture is a devolved function and there is no way we can be subject to regulations that were made without our input. They are illegal, unconstitutional, null and void,” said Murungi.

Murungi made the statements while speaking during a forum for cooperative societies in the agricultural sector in Meru. In the forum, he also reiterated that the exportation of miraa and other products will embark soon after a two-year hiatus.

The exportation had initially been banned due to the spread of COVID-19, however, when international air travel resumed, Somalia announced a continuation of the ban, with Former President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed alias Farmaajo opting to import miraa from Ethiopia instead.

“We are grateful for the intervention of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who during the inauguration of the new president of Somalia struck a deal on reopening the market. Soon the agreement will be signed and business will be back to normal,” he said.

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