The government has backtracked on its decision to ban exportation of sugar in a new statement announced by the Trade and Industry Minister, Ms Amelia Kyambadde.

Ms Kyambadde’s statement came hours after President Museveni, in a communication issued by State House, announced a ban on exportation of sugar.

The President, besides the ban, announced that the government would allow “controlled sugar imports of up to 40,000 tonnes for six months to address the current sugar scarcity”.

The country is suffering a severe sugar crisis that has seen prices rise from Shs4,000 a kilogramme to up to Shs8,000 in some parts of the country in less than a month. In some shopping malls, customers have had to queue for the commodity and some restricted from not taking more than two kilogrammes at a single purchase.

The crisis compelled the President on Friday to tour major sugar-making factories Kakira and SCOUL, after which the statement was issued in which the President announced the ban, saying exportation is part of the cause of the crisis.

“Sugar importation will be regulated and controlled and will be stored in bonded warehouses. We should not allow exportation because this has been part of the problem,” the statement quoted the President as saying. But Ms Kyambadde says the President was misrepresented. “Government is committed to facilitating the sugar factories to produce more for self-sufficiency and export to the regional and international markets,” Ms Kyambadde said in the Saturday statement.

Ms Kyambadde said government has “prepared guidelines to regulate sugar importation and facilitate more public participation with a view to promoting competition”.

Market to be monitored
She said the ministry will monitor the market to ensure prices do not spike. Uganda is the biggest exporter of sugar in the East African region with 88,000 tonnes out of the 292,000 tonnes produced. The country, however, has the second highest production consumption shortfall, of 43,000 tonnes, after Kenya with 225,000, according to 2009 Uganda Sugarcane Technologists Association report.
The public had welcomed the ban on sugar exports, saying it would force the prices of sugar to go down.

The Kakira Sugar Works Managing Director, Mr Mayur Madhvani, said President Museveni has allowed them to import 25,000 tonnes and the rest will be shared by other sugar companies for six months. “The President has allowed us to import 25,000 tonnes of sugar for six months.

Other traders will import the balance. Once that is done, a kilogramme of sugar will cost between Shs3,500 to Shs4,000,” Mr Mahdvani said. Two leading sugar factory owners insist that factory prices of a kilogramme of sugar are still at Shs2,248 and Shs2,240 for Lugazi and Kakira sugar respectively.

source: monitor

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