Dar, Nairobi quarrel over ceramic tiles

CONSIGNMENTS of ceramic tiles from Tanzania to Kenya have stuck at Namanga border in Longido District allegedly due to Nairobi’s restrictions on imported ceramic slabs mostly from Arusha.

It seems the ceramic tiles from Tanzania are of higher and better quality than the Kenyan made, compelling the government to ban importation of building materials from Arusha, seemingly to protect its industries.

That came to light during an official visit by former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industries, Trade and Investment Elisante Ole Gabriel to the Kenya-Tanzania border who used the opportunity to as well inspect the newly opened One Stop Border Post at Namanga. Professor Gabriel has been transferred to the Livestock and Fisheries Ministry.

He discovered that there are tiles from Tanzania that have been refused entry into Kenya and stuck at the border, following some misunderstandings between authorities on either side of the rather busy borderline that separates the two neighbouring countries.

Nearly 50 truckloads of ceramic tiles have been grounded at the border. “Our exports of building tiles to Kenya have been grounded here for over two weeks now after being denied entry,” said Professor Gabriel, adding that some building materials from Kenya have also been held on the Tanzanian side after Tanzania authorities refused haulage of the consignments to Arusha.

According to the Permanent Secretary, Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) which has a portal at Namanga has inspected and tested the ceramic slabs from Kenya, concluding that they had failed the required minimum quality standards in the country.

“That is why even Kenyan builders prefer tiles from Tanzania,” said Prof Gabriel, adding that the ceramic slabs stalemate between Kenya and Tanzania will be amicably solved in the course of this week when the government dispatches a special team to work on the problem.

He explained that the team to address the issue which should be jetting in from the first days of August is expected to be led by the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry.

THE World Bank has assured ...

Author: MARC NKWAME in Arusha

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