Uganda to fight ‘sugar baron’ tag

Saturday September 1 2018

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni.

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni. He has demanded explanation over bonded warehouse full of dubious sugar. PHOTO | NMG 

DICTA ASIIMWE
By DICTA ASIIMWE
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President Yoweri Museveni has moved to clear Uganda’s image of being a country that is aiding the smuggling of illicit sugar from outside of the region.

In an August 19 letter to Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, the president sought an explanation of how Uganda came to have a bonded warehouse where traders store sugar imported outside of the EAC, in contravention of the common external tariff.

President Museveni also directed the Uganda Revenue Authority to close a warehouse where he says foreign sugar from say Brazil is stored before re-export to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

According to President Museveni, this bonded warehouse is the reason Kenya and Tanzania have denied Ugandan sugar access to their markets.

In the most recent case, Tanzania demanded 25 per cent import duty from Kakira Sugar Works, alleging its sugar was not manufactured in Uganda but was only repackaged here.

An official document seen by The EastAfrican shows that Uganda has an annual sugar surplus of 40,000 tonnes.

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In order to sell this surplus to its neighbours, Ugandan officials say they are happy to take their counterparts on a tour of the factories that manufacture this surplus sugar.

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