March 3, 2024

Mixed reactions as Sugar Bill gets first reading in Parliament

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The Sugar Amendment Bill (2023) has evoked mixed reactions from stakeholders, days after it was tabled on the floor of Parliament.

This was after Speaker of Parliament Anita Among referred it to the Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Industry, and Tourism to make consultations with all stakeholders, including farmers and millers, within 45 days and give a recommendation to Parliament for a resolution to be passed after proper scrutiny.

However, the Minister of State for Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives, Mr. David Bahati, presented the bill for its first reading during the plenary sitting on December 5.

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Furthermore, the bill seeks to amend the Act to establish the Uganda Sugar Industry Stakeholder Council, which will replace and inherit the duties of the Sugar Board created by the Sugar Act (2020), all aimed at regulating the sugar industry in the country.

Section 13 of the Sugar Act established the Sugar Board as the body responsible for implementing the Act; however, the Board could not be established because of the government policy on rationalization, which restricts the establishment of statutory bodies.

The Permanent Secretaries or representatives from the Ministries of Agriculture, Finance, and Trade will also sit on the Council but will not possess voting rights.

In conclusion, the Council will be composed of representatives of stakeholders in the sugar industry and will include a chairperson, four representatives from the sugarcane growers, and a similar number from the millers.

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written by @enock katamba

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