Sugar cane out growers have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, protesting the 1% withholding tax charged per every sh1 million made in sales of the cane.
The farmers through their association want government to halt levying of the tax. They also want parliament to speed up the process of passing the long awaited sugar bill that is expected to redeem the plight of sugarcane farmers.
Few days after government re-tabled the Excise duty tax on mobile money as a result of Ugandans opposing the said tax, sugar cane farmers have also petitioned the speaker of parliament opposing the 1% withholding tax on sugarcane.
The Sugarcane farmers argue, the income amendment tax 2018 that prescribed the 1% tax on sugarcane was passed without the involvement of stakeholders.
The farmers led by their National chairman Isa Budhugo also reported to the speaker on how they are making loses as a result of the reduction by the Sugar factories.
“We have come here to express ourselves and tell the speaker that we are not getting any money and withholding tax should be exempted,” Budhogo said.
“We opposes the withholding tax because we are struggling without support from government. Other enterprises like coffee are supported through operation wealth creation,” Paul Kiyimba, a member of the out growers’ association said.
To them, a tone of sugar cane has reduced from 175000 shillings in Kakira sugar factory to 128,000/=. In Scoul lugazi, Kamuli and Mayuge sugar factories the tone of sugarcane has been dropped 130,000/=. In Kaliro the tone cost 131,000 shilling while Kinyara pays the lowest at 100,000 per tone of sugarcane.
“We made a loss of more than Shs12b in these price reductions, we can not just keep quiet as sugarcane farmers” Budhogo said.
The petitioners also want Parliament to speed up the process of passing the long awaited Sugar bill if the plight of sugarcane farmers are to be protected.
“Can we have the bill on the table, can we have the farmers listened to for once? We are now under economic slavery,” Michael Okumu, also a member said.
To the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, she is to invite the Prime minister together will all the line Ministers to forge the way forward.
A tonne of sugarcane was Shs170,000 and farmers were remaining with some little money in their pockets but when the companies reduced it to Shs100,000