Kirunda Kivejinja

Fifteen local companies have been allowed to import 10 per cent duty-imposed 324,555MT of the sweetener for industrial use, according to the East African Community (EAC) Gazette published in Arusha Tanzania January 3, 2018.
The 15 companies had their requests to import sugar for industrial use approved by the Council of Ministers under section 140 of the EAC Customs Management Act 2004. The companies will import the sugar for the next twelve months only under the duty remission scheme.
“The Council of Ministers has approved the following manufacturers to import the specified quantities of raw materials at the specified duty rate under the Duty Remission Scheme,” Al Hajj Kirunda Kivejinja the Chairman of the Council of Ministers wrote.
Some of the companies to import sugar include Century Bottling Company Ltd., Britania Allied Industries, Nile Breweries and Uganda Breweries. They are to import 22,165MT, 3000MT, 1000MT and 200MT of sugar respectively.
Some of the other companies poised to import large volumes of sugar apart from the above mentioned include Lakeside Dairy Ltd (252000MT), Marika Africa Sweets Ltd (22,165MT), Bukonzo Mixed Farmers (20,000MT) and Balaji Group (EA) Ltd (12,000MT).
The Gazette also has allowed companies in the other EAC Partner states like Kenya and Rwanda to import sugar. But Rwanda will have to import sugar up to June 30, 2018.
The latest Gazette also allows other EAC companies to import duty-free items for specific periods.
However, the EAC Council of Ministers decision to allow companies import sugar means sugar manufacturers in the region are not producing enough sugar for domestic and industrial use.
The umbrella association of the Uganda Sugar Millers Association (USMA) chairperson Mwine Jim Kabeho says lack of mature cane for crushing has led to low production and low factory recovery.
Uganda has over 20 companies manufacturing suagr led by Kakira Sugar Works, Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL) and Kinyara Sugar Works. The companies produce about 500,000MT annually as of May 2017.
“The recommended retail price by the millers is Shs3600 and some areas Shs3400, therefore, on average retail prices should not go beyond Shs.4, 000 for premium or packed sugar,” Kabeho said in December as USMA were meeting Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde to discuss escalating sugar prices then.
At the time Kyambadde said government position was that the price of sugar per kilogram should not exceed Shs4, 000 for domestic consumption.
The factory prices had reduced from shs.198, 000 per bag in June 2017 to Shs170, 000 in December.