Uganda sets sh5,000 as maximum price for sugar; trade licences of hoarders to be revoked
Government has intervened to control the escalating price of sugar in Uganda by setting a ceiling price of sh5,000.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde directed that sugar be sold at a fixed retail price of not more than sh5,000 per kilogram countrywide.
The last few weeks have seen the sugar price going for sh6,000 and sh7,000 per kilogram at various retails shops across the country.
Kyambadde said government has agreed with traders to reduce the retail prices of sugar that is locally milled to make it affordable for Ugandans.
“As a ministry, we have agreed with sugar millers, distributors and retailers to ensure that the retail price of sugar does not exceed sh5,000 per kilogram,” said Kyambadde, adding that “the millers shall provide the ministry with monthly stock levels and streamline the distribution of sugar to their registered agents.’
Kyambadde said the directive whose enforcement takes immediate effect, will help to temporarily reduce the high price of sugar.
“With the price ceiling, the ministry is convinced that the sugar supply situation should stabilize by the end of this month and market speculation should not arise,” said Kyambadde.
The Ministry will monitor sugar supply stocks from millers, distributors 2 ensure that retail px of sugar does not exceed UGX 5k per kg. pic.twitter.com/I5uFYm75jl
— Anne.K (@AKyambadde) May 13, 2017
Why the sugar shortage
Kyambadde explained that the rising costs of sugar were as a result of prolonged drought for a period of over 9 months which has led to the scarcity of sugarcane and also led to the harvesting of immature sugar cane. A general food shortage has hit East Africa, with the sugar crisis in Kenya and Uganda and Nairobi having to import maize to meet demands.
Addressing the issue, Philippines flagged vessel with 29,900 metric tonnes of maize from Mexico arrives at the Port of Mombasa pic.twitter.com/FZ6G3otIEx
— Dennis Itumbi (@OleItumbi) May 12, 2017
The minister further blamed the high sugar price to increasing regional demand of Uganda sugar by Kenya and Rwanda, which now stands at 300,000 metric tonnes and 40,000 metric tonnnes respectively.
“Kenya and Rwanda have obtained duty remission import of 100,000 and 70,000 metric tones respectively. This should therefore address the regional shortage that has partly contributed to the sugar problem,” she said.
Kyambadde said the ministry will closely monitor the sugar market situation and promised to take action on traders hoarding sugar.
“The ministry, therefore, strongly condemns any continuous hoarding and speculation in the sugar market. If these malpractices persist, the ministry will be compelled to revoke trading licenses of the culprits.”
On behalf of Uganda Sugar Manufacturer’s Association, Jim Kabeho Mwine, the Director Madhvani Group, said that Kakira Sugar Works had suspended their periodic maintenance program to ensure normal sugar production.
“In this regard, Kakira sugar has 12th May 2017 resumed normal production postponing its regular maintenance. With improved rains, we expect normal supply of sugar cane from the out growers to normalize and this will result into increased sugar production,” said Kabeho.