Parliament Defies Museveni on Sugar Bill Again

Parliament of Uganda

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Parliament has sent the sugar bill back to President Museveni in its current form.

Although Parliament passed the bill excluding zoning of sugar cane farmers, President declined to assent to the bill saying the absence of zoning in the sugar industry would kill the economy.   President Museveni in his letter dated 1st March 2019 to Parliament read by the Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah directed Parliament to ensure that zoning is added in the proposed law.

Museveni says small farmers with less than six acres should not be allowed into growing sugar cane, but medium and large scale farmers should partner with the factories.

The parliament committee on trade in 2019 recommended that a 25 Kilometre radius be stipulated in the sugar bill as the minimum distance between millers and that the factories that fall within the radius be relocated at a cost met by the government that had earlier issued the license.

Although Parliament was meant to debate the motion for reconsideration of the sugar bill, on Wednesday the Speaker of Parliament ruled without debate that the house considered the bill very carefully, enacted it and it was sent for assent.

The chairperson of the committee of Trade Kasule Robert told parliament that they do have any amendments to the bill, and it is upon Government to make a move to amend the bill.

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  She told MPs that although it was returned by the President, Parliament finds no reason to interfere with the position taken previously.

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  Initially, sugar companies funded an out-grower system where a company gives out-grower seeds and fertilizers, in return being assured of purchasing raw products in the form of the canes.

This led to the domination of sugar territories by the big companies, while the small and new companies struggled to get supply, leading to several challenges that include sugar cane poaching, and price differences between the players.    

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