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First batch of Uganda sugar imports here, export to Kenya suspected

Thursday, 8th September, 2011

The first batch of sugar imports ordered by the Uganda Government to quell the sugar scarcity has entered the country.

Koduvayur Eswar, the director of corporate affairs at Madhvani group, the owners of Kakira Sugar Works said in a telephone interview from the US: “Yes, we have imported close to 10,000 tonnes of sugar, we shall sell all of it to the public as soon as it is cleared by the authorities to reduce the current sugar shortages.”

He was quick to note the imported sugar might be sold at a price slightly higher than the current factory price of sh2,248 a kilogramme due to increases in the international price of sugar in addition to importation expenses.

White sugar prices on the London Stock Exchange went up to $751(sh 2,106,555) per metric tonne or approximately sh2,107 per kilogramme from $748(sh2, 098,140) at the start of September.

Jim Kabeho, the chairman of Uganda Sugar Cane Technologists’ Association and director at the Madhavani group of companies said the importation had only been delayed by bureaucracy at the border but the sugar is expected on the market today.

He said earlier that the sugar had been procured from South Africa for an undisclosed amount.

“The current sugar prices have gone up once more because traders are ferrying sugar across the border to Kenya where the price of a kilogramme has shot up to Ksh400 (Ush12,000),” he said.

Mubarak Ntare, the Kampala City Traders Association deputy publicist expressed ignorance of any export of sugar to Kenya, but promised to investigate the claims.

“We are happy sugar has arrived, however, we are worried that Madhavani might re-export the sugar as they usually do. Any trader smuggling sugar to Kenya should be apprehended by the Uganda Revenue Authority,” he said.

A kilogramme of sugar is currently selling at between sh4,500 to sh6,500 in supermarkets around Kampala having risen from sh4,000 a few weeks back.

Ambassador Julius Onen, the permanent secretary in ministry of trade and industry said the government has no plans of stopping the exportation of sugar; however, sugar imported under the current scheme will not be re-exported.

“Sugar suspected to have been imported without the 25% import duty will be denied a certificate of origin for export purposes.

We have summoned the 23 companies licensed under the scheme to give us progress reports,” he said.

By Samuel Sanya and John Masaba: The New Vision Newspaper

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