The minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde has dismissed reports that cabinet plans a tax waiver for imported sugar to drive down sugar prices in the domestic market.
Her reaction was triggered by a story in the Daily Monitor titled, “Cabinet agrees to cut sugar prices” which was published on yesterday, November 28.
“As the sector minister, I wish to categorically state that the story is inaccurate,” Kyambadde told journalist at the Uganda Media Center today.
“Government has not taken any decision to reduce taxes on imported sugar. In this regard therefore, government cannot import duty free sugar since. We have enough stocks and prices are stabilizing steadily. We therefore, demand that Daily Monitor withdraw this inaccurate story henceforth.”
Scrapping taxes on imported sugar means imported sugar from neighboring countries such as Kenya will sell cheaply in the market, something that may trigger further market price distortions.
Kyambadde said sugar prices have steadily reduced from an average Shs 8,500 in May this year to between Shs 4,500 and 5,000 in retail shops.
In April this year, a kilogram was priced at about Shs 2,500. As demand increases in countries such as South Sudan, where Uganda exports some of her sugar, prices in the domestic market tend to increase.
However, some sugar millers say they are currently operating below capacity, a situation they say has forced them to lay off workers. For instance, Kakira Sugar told Uganda Radio Network recently that the company is “failing to break-even financially in our operations [will lead us] inevitability to lay off 4,000 employees.”
Current sugar deficit in the market is estimated to be at more than 200,000 tonnes according to reports