Kampala. The Leader of Opposition (LOP), Ms Betty Aol Ocan, is to lead a team of Opposition Members of Parliament on a parallel consultation with sugarcane growers over the new sugar law.
President Museveni on Tuesday stopped Parliament from debating the Sugar Bill, 2016, which was recently reintroduced after it was returned in March.
He rejected the Bill passed in November last year on grounds that it does not address concerns of big manufacturers of sugar, calling for further consultation before it is passed again.
Addressing journalists yesterday at Parliament, Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze said Ms Aol will also lead them to eastern Uganda where majority of sugarcane growers are based to get their views on the Bill.
She questioned President Museveni for getting involved in the MPs’ job.
“I do not see the reason why President Museveni is doing our job. Consultation job is supposed to be ours. If he is taking over our job, we are also going to visit farmers and get their views on this Bill,” Ms Nambooze said.
She said farmers should not be forced to sell their sugarcane to a particular investor and that they should have their liberty to choose the buyer and determine their price.
She also questioned why the government is favouring manufactures who are not taxed at the expense of Ugandan farmers.
Ms Aol, who agreed to lead the Opposition MPs, asked the National Resistance Movement (NRM) MPs to accompany them.
The Sugar Bill was passed in Parliament last year in November to provide for the development, regulation and promotion of the sugar industry.
However, it became contentious after disagreements arose from the Parliamentary Committee on Trade and Tourism, where members disagreed on the zoning structure, which requires one factory to operate within 25km radius.
The committee had proposed in its report to Parliament that small sugar millers within the 25km radius be relocated and compensated.
But some members dissented and wrote a minority report, saying such a move would be disastrous because kicking them out of the industry would leave farmers without market for their sugarcane.
President Museveni did not assent to the Bill and returned it to the House for reconsideration.