The Ugandan government, through the Ministry of East African Community Affairs, has expressed concern about South Sudan’s decision to impound its maize flour due to allegations that it is contaminated with aflatoxins.
Uganda has also requested that the dozens of trucks impounded at the Elegu border post while transporting the said maize flour be released.
Reports indicate that in the past two weeks, over 40 Ugandan registered trucks transporting maize flour have been impounded on their way to Juba by South Sudan Bureau of Standards.
It is said that these trucks are held up in an isolated parking yard 7kms into South Sudan and the major reason for impounding them is that they are carrying aflatoxin affected maize flour which is not fit for human consumption.
In a letter by Edith Mwanje, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of East African Affairs in Uganda to her counterpart Andrea Aguer Ariik Malueth of South Sudan, she noted that they had been informed that the impounded consignments failed to pass the rapid tests which were conducted at Nimule border and they await confirmatory results as samples have been exported for further investigation.
“However, there is no clear time line as to when the confirmatory results shall be available,” she said.
Mwanje further pointed out that it is now over two weeks since the first consignments was impounded and this is fuelling a strike by the affected parties at Elegu-Nimule border.
In order to solve the impass, Ugandan authorities have asked their counterparts to make use of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) laboratory facility in Gulu that was provided by TradeMark Africa (TMA) in July 2022.
South Sudan has also been requested to allow the truck drivers to offload the maize flour in a particular designated area and South Sudan Bureau of Standards continues with their investigation into the quality of the maize flour.
Further, both the trucks and drivers should be released to Uganda for other businesses.
Meanwhile, it has also been established that between May 15, 2023 to date, the South Sudan National Bureau of Standards (SSNBS) has also been impounding trucks loaded with wheat flour, sorgum and other grain products on allegations of failing to pass the test for contamination with aflatoxin.
“At the border level, we (the Ministry of EAC -UG) have been trying to engage the standards authorities for an amicable solution. The assurance that the matter would be solved in the shortest time possible has not materialised as more trucks with similar products are being impounded,” said an official from the ministry.
This website has established that the Minister for EAC Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga, on Tuesday engaged her counterpart in S.South Sudan to speed up the process due to truck driver unrest at the border.
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