MPs Want Com­pre­hen­sive Re­port on High Sugar Prices

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MPs The State Min­is­ter of Trade and Co­op­er­a­tives, Michael Werikhe faced it rough in the last plenary after leg­is­la­tors ques­tioned him over the high prices of sugar.

Three months ago, the prices of sugar went from about UGX 3000 to Ugx 8000, which Werikhe told Parlia­ment was at­trib­uted to pro­longed drought stretch­ing over a pe­riod of over 9 months, as well as out grower farm­ers har­vest­ing sugar im­ma­turely.

Werikhe added that gov­ern­ment had noted with con­cerns re­ports that some sugar com­pa­nies were hoard­ing sugar, re­veal­ing that gov­ern­ment will be com­pelled to take al­ter­na­tive mea­sures against them.  He how­ever did not tell the leg­is­la­tors what mea­sures would be taken against the hoard­ers.

While the min­is­ter said that the min­istry is en­sur­ing that the re­tail price of sugar does not ex­ceed UGX 5000, sev­eral leg­is­la­tors re­jected this no­tion, won­der­ing why gov­ern­ment had failed to have the prices re­duced fur­ther yet the mar­ket prices range be­tween Ugx 6000 and Ugx 8000.

The MPs are irked by gov­ern­men­t’s si­lence on on­go­ing sugar wars among com­pa­nies, which have greatly af­fected prices as well.

MPs Dorothy Nshaija and Rose Ayaka said gov­ern­ment has failed to ex­haust is­sues on in­fight­ing in the sugar sec­tor, won­der­ing how drought can be the rea­son for the prices soar­ing.

Masindi Woman MP, Jalia Bintu also dis­missed gov­ern­men­t’s jus­ti­fi­ca­tion that prices were hiked due to the har­vest­ing of im­ma­ture canes. She warned that if the in­dus­try is not well reg­u­lated, Ugan­dans will not see the prices go down and there will be con­tin­ued im­punity from the busi­ness­men.

Nakaseke North MP, Syda Bbumba won­dered why all sugar com­pa­nies sched­uled main­te­nance of their ma­chines at al­most the same time. She sug­gested that gov­ern­ment comes up with a more or­ga­nized sched­ule that al­lows the sugar millers to main­tain their ma­chines at given times to avoid in­ci­dences of short­ages.

While the min­istry said it will con­tinue mon­i­tor­ing the sugar mar­ket sit­u­a­tion re­gard­ing prices, the legisla­tors, in­clud­ing Oyam Woman MP, Santa Alum, rub­bished his state­ment, not­ing that the qual­ity of sugar on the mar­ket is adul­ter­ated and needs to be ur­gently checked.

Kadaga di­rected the Min­is­ter to pre­sent a com­pre­hen­sive re­port on a strate­gic plan by gov­ern­ment on re­duc­ing sugar prices.

Werikhe promised to pre­sent the re­port, out­lin­ing gov­ern­men­t’s strat­egy be­fore the House this week.

RedPepper.co.ug

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