Busia Residents Flock Ugandan Shops For Sugar and Milk
High cost of living in Kenya has forced scores of Busia County residents to cross to Uganda to shop for basic commodities.
A spot check by The Standard showed that locals cross over to Uganda to buy essential items among them sugar, milk and maize and wheat flour as the commodities in the neighbouring country are affordable.
Retail shops in Uganda are selling 1 kilogramme of sugar at Sh150 compared to local supermarkets in Busia where it goes at Sh200.
At the same time, unscrupulous business people have taken advantage of the unavailability basic goods in local markets to smuggle them into the country.
Foodstuffs being brought in the country through porous borders of Busia and Malaba are mostly sugar and milk which are then sold at exorbitant cost in shops.
A manager of a mini-supermarket located less than two kilometers on the Ugandan side confirmed that for the last one week, Kenyans have been swarming the chain store to shop.
"Most of our customers for the last one week have been coming from Kenya. They don't buy in bulk but in small quantities, certainly for family use," he confirmed.
Busia Traders Association chairman Stephen Obala blamed devolved units for doing little to alleviate living standards of public.
"The problem we are experiencing now cannot be blamed on the national government alone but the county governments as well because the essence of devolution was to bring resources near the people and ensure they benefit but that is not happening in most parts of this country," said Obala.
Mary Anyango is one of the Kenyans who cross to Uganda to shop. She is a mother of five children and traverses Busia town daily hawking ripe bananas and every evening, she crosses to Uganda for shopping.
"Life has become hard and price of basic commodities is increasing daily, I cannot afford to shop in our local supermarkets so I cross to Uganda," she said.
All along, Kenyans have been known to be buying their alcohol in Uganda where the cost of beer is low compared to Kenya.
Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong said duty fee imposed on most of commodities in the country has resulted to high cost.
Food prices have gone up by nearly 50 per cent in almost all parts of the country in the past three months making life unbearable for ordinary consumers who toil just to put food on the table.
Sugar lovers have endured the price burden since November 2016 when the country started experiencing shortages.
Traders and consumers are also feeling the pressure of diminished supply.
Source : standard
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