President Musevenvi affirms to sugar act as Uganda ready to export excess sugar to Tanzania

Sugar from Kakira factory in Uganda at the Kisumu pier in western Kenya recently

The Uganda’s president, Museveni has approved the Sugar Act, 2020 as the country makes the final deliberations in exporting their surplus sugar to Tanzania with the first consignment of 20,000 metric tonnes to be exported before the end of May this year. It was reported by the president’s press team on Tuesday that Museveni affirmed to the Bill on April 24, 2020. Part of the statement as it was disclosed by the presidential press secretary, Ms Lindah Nabusayi reads:

President Museveni signs the sugar bill into law

“20,000 metric tonnes of brown sugar from the sugar industry of Uganda would be trading off to the United Republic of Tanzania by the end of May 2020. It is the first export which has provided market opportunities for the nation’s sugar millers who have made excess production.”

It was reported that the President Musevenvi had a meeting with representatives from Tanzania which was organized by the managing director of Kagera Sugar Limited, Seif Ally Seif on April 20, 2020. The trade minister Amelia Kyambadde was also part of the meeting. In the meeting, President Musevenvi commended his Tanzanian counterpart John Pombe Magufuli for working together with Uganda’s sugar industry and said that the deal is of critical importance that it would contribute in strengthening the East African Community. President Museveni also added that everything can grow easily in the country just that they have been lagging behind as a result of politics of identity and primitive farming techniques due to the subsistence nature of the people. However, Ugandans are becoming aware after being sensitized which led to the production of surplus.

Ms Kyambadde stated that the act would help in removing the stress encountered by Ugandan millers who have been trying to penetrate the Tanzanian market over a long time adding that transportation would be safer and cheaper through the Port Bell Mwanza channel. According to Kyambadde, the country has good sugar market with an excess of 48,000 metric tonnes which will help Tanzania in their present situation of sugar shortage. She also added that Uganda’s sugar industry is made up of 11 functional Sugar Mills collectively producing a total of 510,000 metric tonnes and consumption is 360,000 metric tonnes per annum. Obviously, surplus 150,000 metric tonnes is sufficient for export. During this period of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, the prices of sugar have remained stable less than Shs4,000 per Kilogram despite some hoarding and panic shopping during the initial period of the pandemic outbreak.

During a two-day official visit in Kenya on March 2019, President Museveni established a deal with Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyata which would handle Ugandan sugar in Kenya. The deal would authorize Uganda to export between 36,000 and 90,000 tonnes of sugar to Kenya per annum.

Earlier in January 2019, Tanzania had cleared the importation of Ugandan sugar after a meeting between the trade ministers of the two countries in order to break a trade deadlock that had restricted referential market access for Ugandan sugar. Tanzania had placed a ban on Ugandan sugar in 2018 accusing the Kampala for importation of repackaged sugar before re-exporting to regional markets. Tanzania claimed that Uganda’s sugar traders were importing sugar from Kenya and Brazil before repackaging and exporting to their country.

Reports shows that Uganda is the only East African Country member state that produces excess sugar for export with surplus estimation yielding over 100,000 tonnes in 2018. According to Bloomberg in 2017, Uganda produced an estimated 365,452 tonnes against an annual consumption of 360,000 tonnes. Also, the Uganda’s sugar production is controlled by three millers: Kakira Sugar Ltd, Kinyara Sugar Works Ltd and Sugar Corporation of Uganda Ltd.

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