Sugar Bill: Farmers vow to vote out people who initiated it - National | NTV

Sugar Bill: Farmers vow to vote out people who initiated it

Monday June 3, 2019

 

Sugarcane farmers in Busoga Sub-region have asked Members of Parliament (MPs) to name the architect of the Sugar Bill (2016), vowing to vote out the legislator in the 2021 General Election.

The farmers made the remarks at the weekend while attending a meeting by Opposition MPs, who were dispatched by the Office of the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, to gather their views on the Bill that has since drawn widespread condemnation from the sugarcane growers and millers.

The five-member delegation was led by Mr Harold Muhindo (Bukonzo East), while other members included Mr Jackson Mbaju (Busongora South), Mr Robert Centenary (Kasese Municipality), Mr Jack Wamanga (Mbale Municipality) and Mr Fred Turyamuhweza Tumuheirwe (Rujumbura).
The Bill seeks to, among others, create zoning around established sugar millers to relocate those that are within a radius of 25 kilometres from the established millers.

The Bill also seeks to replace the Sugar Act (1938), which is obsolete and can no longer regulate the current sugar industry, Mr Tumuhirwe explained.

The Bill has not been assented to by President Museveni, who instead returned it to the House for further deliberations. 
“Mention the MP who tabled this (sugar) Bill in Parliament; if he is from Busoga, name him or her so that we deal with them in 2021. The one who brought the Age Limit Bill (Raphael Magezi) is known; how about the one who brought the Sugar Bill?’’ Mr James Kulaba, a farmer from Budondo, asked the MPs.

However, Mr Tumuheirwe, who doubles as the shadow minister of Trade and Industry, explained that Bills come to the floor of Parliament as government Bills (through the Office of the Prime Minister) or as a private member’s Bill (an individual MP), and no particular name came through government while no MP has claimed ownership of the Bill


Mr Muhindo said some MPs from Busoga sub-region, whom he did not name, support the zoning and relocation policy and asked the farmers to talk to them.

Support for the farmers
He also singled out the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, Mr Maurice Kibalya (Bugabula South) and Mr Isaac Musumba (Buzaya) as legislators, who are ‘standing with the farmers’.

Mr Tumuheirwe said deliberations of the Bill drew millers, 28 per cent stakeholders and a committee of outgrowers, among others while zoning and relocation was rejected by 78 per cent representatives.

He added that a sugar board was being conceived to regulate the sugar industry.
“The board will constitute four millers and four outgrowers (increased from two). It is the same board that will licence the mills and determine where incoming millers will be placed or whether to increase on their number,” Mr Tumuheirwe explained.

The Buikwe District LC5 chairperson, Mr Mathias Kigongo, said: “When the zoning Bill is passed, it will be the first time in history to enact laws that work backwards. I think the reasons for zoning are hidden and not well revealed to Parliament.

Background
The Sugar Bill 2016 that aims at regulating the sugar industry was passed by Parliament on November 20 last year. However, President Museveni, who was supposed to sign it into law, rejected and returned it to Parliament in March because he wanted it to include some clause