UGANDA – The government has been unable to establish the sugar board to regulate the sugar industry due to the lack of the required funds, the country’s finance minister Evelyn Anite has revealed.  

Evelyn was responding to members parliament calling for the government to facilitate the establishment of a sugar board in the country for licensing and regulation of sugar millers. 

In a statement by the finance minister, Evelyn Anite, the government has been unable to establish the sugar board to regulate the sugar industry due to the lack of the required funds. 

The Sugar Board was established by the Sugar Act of 2020 to regulate the sugar industry and will be charged with licensing of sugarcane millers, among other functions. 

According to her, the sugar bill was assented to after the approval of the 2023/2024 budget, where the US$520,000 needed for the sugar board was not provided, and a decision has not been made to operationalize a sugar council as an interim measure. 

“As you may be aware, the government generally encountered resource constraints as a result of Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, my Ministry was not able to provide the required funding. 

A sugar council to be funded by sugar millers will be established to regulate the sector in the interim,” she added. 

Earlier this month, the Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association (USMA) issued a petition against the addition of new players through licensing. 

As of August 2022, there were 14 operational sugar factories in Uganda, according to statistics from the Uganda Sugar Manufacturers’ Association (USMA). 

Combined, the millers produced an estimated 822,000 metric tonnes of sugar in 2022. This is up from an estimated 600,000 metric tonnes in 2021 and 510,000 metric tonnes in 2020 

The millers however argue that the industry is already saturated industry and new players will only perpetuate the problem of insufficient raw materials. 

USMA highlighted that operational mills are fighting for less available sugarcane, leading to the crushing of underage cane, which, they said, results in losses for outgrower farmers, companies, and the government since immature cane contains less sucrose.