Sugar export earnings edge up by 39% - BoU report

Monday June 14 2021
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Sugar from Kakira factory in Uganda at the Kisumu pier in western Kenya recently. President Museveni has assented to the Sugar Act, 2020 as Uganda makes its final deliberations in trading off its surplus sugar to Tanzania, with the first consignment of 20,000 metric tonnes expected before end of May this year. FILE PHOTO

By DOROTHY NAKAWEESI

Uganda’s sugar exports recovered to levels it was two years ago, after suffering near rejection from all the neighbouring countries due to trade wars.

Bank of Uganda’s latest monthly statistics show that in April, the country exported sugar worth $12.94million (Shs45.9b), up from $7.89million (Shs28b) earned in March.

This performance indicated a 39 per cent increase and the highest since September 2018 when the country recorded $12.05m (Shs42b).

The BoU report shows that Uganda exported a total of 23,185 metric tonnes up from 13,719 tonnes exported in March. This was higher than 6,585 metric tonnes - the lowest the country exported in November 2020.

Much as there was an increase in the exports, it still insufficient compared to the stockpile.

Explaining the spike in export figures over the weekend, Mr Jim Kabeho, the chairman Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association said: “In April, the country exported 25,000 metric tonnes to Tanzania which is responsible for the increase in volumes and value.”

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Tanzania last imported Uganda’s sugar in early 2020 of about 20,000 metric tonnes.
Later, the second largest economy abandoned the deal and requested through the East African gazette to import sugar from Comesa.

Uganda’s sugar has suffered rejection in Tanzania and Kenya, a trade war that saw separately imposed blockades on the country’s sugar on claims that dealers were importing and re-exporting cheap sugar into their markets.

The claim saw Uganda lose out on sugar exports ranging between 100,000 and 150,000 tonnes as of December 2020.

After a delegation Kenyan trade experts and government officials visited Uganda at the end of April on a mission to iron out the trade war between the two East African member states, little sugar shipments have been flagged off.

Under the new framework of trade co-operation, Kenya was expected to import up to 90,000 metric tonnes of Ugandan sugar per year and, from July 1, when the new financial year begins, abolish a 35 per cent excise duty on liquid petroleum gas cylinders manufactured in Uganda.

However, Kabeho said since April, little has been exported of the 90,000 metric tonnes as agreed by the officials.

“The 90,000 metric tonnes’ deal has not been shipped as agreed. But we do get small permits here and there from Kenya,” Kabeho shared.

dnakaweesi@ug.nationmedia.com

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