Sugar companies in the Busoga region are seeking Parliament’s intervention in what they call unfair competition from sugar bonds which they accuse of unfair competition.
In a meeting with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on Wednesday, November 24, the managing directors of sugar companies revealed that sugar bonds which were earlier banned by President Museveni are still operating.
They say that sugar bonds stockpile imported sugar which they sell at cheaper prices since they are not taxed.
The executive director Madhvani Group Ltd Mwine Jim Kabeho said traders from neighboring countries are now buying sugar from the said bonds which he says has led to their sugar getting spoilt in storage.
“Currently, the markets of Sudan and DR-Congo no longer buy our sugar. They buy from sugar bonds yet our sugar is rotting” said Kabeho adding that, “we now have stocks of sugar worth US$30 million in various companies”.
Kadaga said she was not aware of the illegal sugar trade.
She revealed that Parliament has had a debate on the poor trade relations with neighboring countries. She added that the Minister for East African Community Affairs was tasked to address them at the regional level.
“We had a motion on the floor of Parliament for Government to demand Kenya to implement East African trade protocols; they have blocked our milk, sugar and chicken. They have blocked everything,” Kadaga said.
She observed that Tanzania and Rwanda were also becoming unreliable, prompting her to advise the Minister of Trade to explore other markets in COMESA.
Kadaga also urged the sugar companies to give back to the community by constructing some roads in the regions which she said were impassable.
“Some roads such as the ones in Kaliro are now impassable; when the locals see me, they tell me they can’t reach the markets and hospitals,” Kadaga said.
The Managing Director of GM Sugar Ltd, Milan Dobaria said that since most companies have construction equipment, they will support the cause.
“We need to identify the road which is affected the most that we can start with then sit down and come out with the budget,” Dobaria said.