Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde has presented a bill to regulate the sugar industry with a view of meeting domestic, regional and international sugar requirements.
Currently, there is no comprehensive law regulating the sugar industry hence disharmony among the key players in the industry.
While tabling the Sugar Bill, 2016 at its first reading, Minister Kyambadde said that the bill intends to introduce a harmonised and modern legal framework to enable the sugar industry develop in an orderly and competitive manner.
A copy of the bill accessed by Uganda Radio Network provides for the establishment of the Uganda Sugar Board comprising of a chairperson, permanent secretaries of the trade, agriculture and finance ministries, five representatives of millers and two representatives of out-growers.
Clause 6 of the bill provides for the functions of the board including regulating, development and promotion of the sugar industry. The board will also be responsible with coordinating activities of individuals and organisations in the sugar industry.
Other functions of the board include ensuring equitable access to the benefits and resources of the sugar industry, facilitate the export of sugar produced by Uganda, arbitrate disputes between parties in the sugar industry, and regulate the disposal of the by-products of sugar production and others.
Clause 19 (1) of the bill prohibits anyone to establish or operate a sugar mill, jiggery mill or a plant to process the by-products of sugar-cane without a valid licence granted by the board.
In order to streamline the management of the industry, Clause 24(1) of the bill provides that growers, millers, out-grower associations and other parties shall enter into agreements referred to as ‘Sugar Industry Agreements’ indicating their respective rights, duties and obligations.
Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadage referred the Sugar bill to parliament’s trade committee for expeditious handling noting that the sector has been faced with a number of challenges that affect ordinary Ugandans.
Sugar prices have been going up in the past three months with a kilogramme going for between 4000 and 5000 shillings in most parts of the country.