Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Talk on the contentious Sugar Bill dominated the thanksgiving prayers for the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga at Christ Cathedral Bugembe in town council in Jinja district on Sunday.
Several speakers including political, religious and cultural leaders expressed their disappointment with the Sugar Bill that was recently deferred by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah for further consultation.
The bill seeks among others to introduce zoning to ensure steady supply of cane to factories to sustain sugar production.
The leaders noted that Busoga region is known for supporting government programs and the Sugar Bill should be amended to suit their interests.
They claimed that unlike the old days when Busoga region was known for cotton and coffee growing, sugarcane growing has become the main stay of the residents and any legislation affecting the industry must be done in consultation with all stakeholders.
Rt. Rev. Samson Naimanhe, the Bishop of Busoga Diocese who led the thanksgiving service, called for the sensitisation of cane farmers in the region on each clause in the bill before it is discussed by parliament.
Bishop Naimanhe noted that as a church, they are opposed to the bill in its current form.
He also faulted those blaming sugarcane growing for deforestation in Busoga region, saying tree cutting is fueled by charcoal burning because of the high power tariffs, which have made it very costly for residents to cook using electricity.
Busoga Kingdom Prime Minister, Joseph Muvawala said the kingdom has no problem with any sugar mill in the region, but their only prayer is that cane farmers should be given chance to add value to their cane before selling it off.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, said some Members of parliament from Busoga region have shied away from the Sugar bill discussion because of the interests of their political financiers.
Kadaga insisted that power belongs to the people and asked government to organize a balanced dialogue between the cane millers and growers to create harmony before tabling the bill.