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When CORD leader Raila Odinga queries Uhuru-Museveni trade pact, terming the sugar deal sour and tasteless and when Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale warns that it has the potential to kill the local industry struggling to stay afloat, I just feel so ashamed that these are the kind of people Kenyans look up to for economic empowerment.

When Raila wonders why Uhuru struck the deal, which he claims was shrouded in secrecy, I simply ask myself, if it was done in secrecy, how comes it is in public domain?
When he doubts the New Kenya Co-operative Creameries and the Kenya Meat Commission's capability to export dairy and beef respectively to Uganda, one wonders what kind of a leader he is, still closed within the constrains of fear of adventure.

By the way, allow me to ask one simple question;- Are both Raila and Khalwale new in this country? Is the pact to blame for the problems facing Mumias Sugar Company, KMC & New KCC's problems? What did they do to rectify the anomalies when they had the instruments of power? Can Raila shed light on his alleged role on the collapse of Mumias Sugar visa vis his Molasis Plant's non payment of Mumia's debts?

When Khalwale claims that Sugarcane farmers across the country will be the biggest casualties of struggling industry as a result of lack of payments, can he tell Kenyans what he did to rescue the situation for all the time he has been a leader? Or does he want Kenyans to believe that bull fighting is the only scientifically proven solution to the Mumias problem?
I think it is the high time Kenyans differentiate between leaders and jokers. Such lunatics don't deserve anyone's ear.

The Jubilee Administration has all along been seeking ways of bailing out Mumias Sugar Company to an extent of even allocating a billion to the company to try and solve its problem. The Uhuru gesture to sign pacts with leaders from different countries is always meant for the benefit of all Kenyans. Government's decisions are usually thought through by a team of experts before they materialize. It is not just about the president waking up from a dream and taking a pen and paper to make agreements with other nations. Raila & co. have the luxury of errors but that is not the case with the presidency.

The gains from such trade liberalization are substantial. Several studies have shown that income grows more rapidly in countries open to international trade than in those more closed to trade. China’s rapid growth after 1978 and India’s after 1991 were as a result of major trade reforms.
By broadening markets, concerted liberalization of trade increases competition and specialization among countries, thus giving a bigger boost to efficiency and consumer incomes.

Trade keeps our economy open, dynamic, and competitive and helps ensure that a country becomes an ideal  place to do business. Trade is critical to a country's prosperity since it fuels economic growth, supports good jobs at home, raises living standards and helps its people provide for their families with affordable goods and services.

Free trade promotes economic development. International trade is the modern framework of prosperity. The purpose of trade is to provide access to a greater variety of goods and services. Free trade policies open up new areas to competition and innovation. It leads to better jobs, new markets and increased investment. Free trade spreads values and beliefs as well as goods and services.

Free trade rewards risk-taking through increased sales and market share. When countries take advantage of free trade, their economies grow. This growth overflows into the members of its populace that are economically unstable or mired in poverty but are open to trade. It also allows regions and companies to focus on the goods or services that they do best. If countries can trade for the items they need, they can focus on making the ones they do best. Imports tend to suppress inflation, since each product or service comes from the best supply source.

Trade expansion benefits families and businesses by:
• Supporting more productive, higher paying jobs in our export sectors
• Expanding the variety of products for purchase by consumers and business
• Encouraging investment and more rapid economic growth.

Think about when you go shopping, more often than not, you notice the tags "Made in Mexico"; "Made in UK"; "Made in Italy"  on your clothes; your daughter’s new doll; the towels in your bathroom; the radio on your desk etc. This is all part of living in a global economy. Trade agreements are geared towards opening markets. They are geared primarily towards maximizing the economic benefits flowing to the countries involved. A trade agreement is a wide ranging tax, tariff and trade treaty that often includes investment guarantees.

Regional trade agreements cover more than half of international trade. Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) increases a country's productivity and contribute to higher GDP growth by allowing domestic businesses access to cheaper inputs, introducing new technologies, and fostering competition and innovation. FTAs promote regional economic integration and build shared approaches to trade and investment.

International trade, allows each country to specialize in the goods it can produce cheaply and efficiently relative to other countries. Such specialization enables all countries to achieve higher real incomes. Increasing efficiency through free trade is a common goal globally.

So, when a national figure like Raila narrows down pacts of such mutual benefit to a mere publicity stunt or for political expediency, one wonders the chemistry composition of the stuff within his skull. This country is too dear to us to be thrown to the dogs just because of the 2017 General Elections.

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