Busoga Kingdom petitions Parliament over sugar bill

Busoga Kingdom has petitioned Parliament protesting the proposal to re-introduce zoning of sugar millers.
The Sugar Bill that Parliament passed in November last year sought to provide for the development, regulation and promotion of the sugar industry to ensure that there is sustainable, diversified, harmonized, modern and competitive sugar sector. Government had proposed a zone of 25km between mills with no more than one mill in the zone and out-growers in the area only supplying sugarcane to the mill. Parliament rejected this proposal.
The President however did not assent to the Bill as passed by Parliament and returned it to the House asking MPs to reconsider and provide for zoning of sugar cane growing and production.  
The Committee on Trade last week presented its Report to the plenary asking members to back the proposal by the President. Parliament is scheduled to consider the Bill during the Tuesday sitting.
While presenting the petition to the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, Dr. Joseph Muvawala, the Katikiro of the Busoga Kingdom, recommended that more time be given for consultations on the Bill.
“If the proposed Sugar Bill is changed to include aspects of zoning, it would have adverse economic effects on the people of Busoga. We are in support of the Bill as passed by Parliament,” he said.
He further explained that the Bill allows a miller to also be an importer. He proposed that people who are millers should not be importers.
The Kingdom officials presented their petition to the Speaker on Monday, 29 April 2019.
The Kingdom’s 1st Deputy Prime Minister, Mohammad Lubega noted that the adoption of zoning would lead to disastrous consequences in the industry and the community since sugarcane is the only cash crop still grown, having dropped cotton and coffee.
“In Busoga we only have sugar cane as our source of income. The issue of zoning is being done in a hurried manner and this will be a recipe for more economic chaos and poverty that will affect millions of people and the generations to come,” he said.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, said that there was need for dialogue between the stakeholders and the President before the Bill can be passed.
“There is indeed need for dialogue and understanding of the sugar cane grower’s point of view. It’s not a matter of life or death because this is about the future of the people of Uganda,” she said.
The presentation of the petition was also attended by Members of Parliament from the Busoga region including; Hon. Maurice Kibalya (NRM, Bugabula South); Hon. Julie Mukoda (Indep. Mayuge District) and Hon. Robina Hope Mukisa (NRM, Namayingo District).