By Frank Kamuntu
Kampala: Legislators have called on government to expedite the construction of a sugar factory in the Busoga region to avoid a repeat of the current ban on export of sugarcane by the Kenyan government.
The call is part of the prayers in a motion on the prohibition of importation of raw sugar cane from Uganda by the government of Kenya.
Luuka North County MP, Hon. John Bagoole who moved the motion said that due to the defied bi-lateral trade agreements, farmers have suffered losses because they cannot export their sugarcane to Kenya.
“Trucks ferrying sugarcane to Kenya are lined up at the Busia border which has led to loss in terms of rotting cane, losses of funds spent and spending high costs of hiring the trucks for unforeseen number of days,” Bagoole said.
Bagoole moved the motion at a sitting of the House chaired by the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on Wednesday, 15 July 2020.
He added that the government should reconsider reviewing trade agreements signed with Kenya.
“Government through the Ministers of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and the Minister of East African Affairs should urgently intervene and resolve the impasse with their counterpart in Kenya. If they fail to lift the ban, then Ugandan government should also reciprocate by putting a ban on imported goods from Kenya,” he added.
Hon. Kenneth Lubogo (NRM, Bulamogi County) said it was prudent to push government for the sugar factory that was promised by the President.
“We need to put a time frame on the government to fulfill this pledge to the Busoga people. Other parts of the country have factories; why not Busoga? This sugar factory will allow consumption of the excessive sugarcane which cannot be used by the existing millers,” he said.
Hon. Robert Centenary (FDC, Kasese Municipality) said it was important for government to fulfill its pledge since the sugarcane loses content easily.
“It takes six days for sugarcane to rot and lose its moisture content and the farmers are losing so much at this stage. We need to have an out growers’ factory because our farmers are facing numerous losses at this point,” he said.
Busia Municipality MP, Hon Geofrey Macho called for the immediate ban on import of goods from Kenya if the bi-lateral trade agreements signed in regard to exportation of Ugandan goods to Kenya are not respected.
However, the Minister of State for East African Community Affairs, Hon Julius Maganda said government was in negotiations with the Ministry of Trade in Kenya and will hold a meeting in due course.
“It is in the interest of the country that we have trade with Kenya as we implement the common market. We are aware of the trucks stopped by the Trade Minister Hon. Peter Munya and we have been engaging them to see that the trade continues,” Maganda said.