MPs reject explanation on sugar scarcity

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Members of Parliament have rejected a report from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives on the ongoing sugar scarcity in the country.

This followed a presentation by the State Minister for Industries, Hon. Michael Werikhe, where he stated that the government was equally concerned by the escalating shortages and high prices.

“The cause of the scarcity is prolonged drought over a period of nine months and the harvesting of immature sugar cane,” he said.

Werikhe presented the statement to the House chaired by the Rt. Hon. Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, on Wednesday, June 28, 2017.

He added that the government had urged millers to ensure that the factories maintain normal production and with improved rains the millers expect normal supply of sugar cane from the growers.

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He further noted that at a regional level there was an increase in demand for over 300,000 metric tonnes in Kenya and 400,000 metric tonnes in Rwanda.

Hon. Syda Bbumba (Nakaseke North County) was dissatisfied with the report and noted that the reasons that were given were addressing the shortage and not the increase in prices.

“The foreign content in the sugar production is not much, because one can say that the prices have gone up because of the dollar escalation. Hon. Members the dollar has not depreciated by 40 percent within the period. The sugar price has gone up by 40 percent within this period,” she said.

She further explained that the problem of scarcity of sugar was due to indiscipline and irregular practices within the sector. She sought to find out when the Sugar Authority would be put in place to address the concerns.

Col. Fred Mwesigye (Nyabushozi County) was not satisfied with the statistics that were provided in the report. He said the Minister ought to know annual consumption and production; what the country exports and imports; what is smuggled because this would guide the House in decision making.

Kadaga directed the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives to return to Parliament with a comprehensive report and a strategy to stem the skyrocketing prices of sugar.

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