Sugar shortage in Uganda?
Sweet toothed Ugandans have endured a sour three months, as the country faces an acute sugar shortage, while the price of the commodity has risen by more than 200 percent.
The price of sugar is expected to keep the upward trend, raising fears that Ugandans may soon embark on street protests and riots to force down the prices.
It is suspected that some “unscrupulous” politicians and businesses are speculatively hoarding large quantities of sugar so they can sell it at high prices.
Fearing a worsening of the sugar shortages, the government has allowed some businesses to start importing sugar to curb the deficit.
In April and May Uganda experienced riots which led to the police allegedly killing at least nine people, as the force attempted to restrain violent demonstrators.
Only four months ago, a kilogramme of sugar was 2000 Uganda Shillings, equivalent to around US$1.
However, the price has more than tripled and one kilogramme is sold for between 6000 and 8000 shillings, equivalent to between US$2 and US$3.
Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni has spoken out against hoarding, warning politicians against getting involved in the illegal practice.
”I have been made to understand that some politicians are buying sugar from sugar factories at around 2000 shillings per and selling it at over 5000 per kilo.
That should stop,” he said in a televised address to the nation.
A legislator, Anna Maria Nankabirwa concurred with Museveni, arguing that rich politicians could be responsible for the shortages.
“Politicians, particularly the ministers, who have access to some funds, might be responsible for the escalating prices of sugar,” she said in an interview.
She alleged that politicians bought sugar from factories in bulk and then released smaller quantities onto the market to make demand higher than supply, in the process forcing the price up.??She requested the president and the government to discipline such politicians.??
Trade Minister, Amelia Kyambadde has said that all was being done to ensure that the price of sugar goes down so that Ugandans could afford it.
She also requested sugar factories to publicise factory prices and the recommended retail price.??
John Kisitu Kisajja 52, a peasant farmer said, “If the price of sugar does not go down, we will demonstrate and request the resignation of Museveni and his officials.”
“?Kisajja said the price of most essential commodities had risen “because businesses were claiming that since the sugar price had gone up, then they should also increase prices of other goods they sell, so they could get enough money to buy sugar.”