Final touches are in high gear at the Jinja Port to clear the first consignment of Ugandan sugar to be exported to Tanzania before the end of this month.
President Museveni last month assented to the Sugar Act as Uganda agreed to sell off its surplus sugar to Tanzania with the first consignment of 20,000 metric tonnes expected soon.
However, according Ian Rumanyika, the Uganda Revenue Authority Manager in charge of Corporate Affairs their customs team is currently ensuring businesses in Jinja remain afloat by facilitating Kakira Sugar Limited and SCOUL to export their excess sugar through Jinja Port to Tanzania.
“The Jinja Port activity has been revived to serve the nation by offering all the various advantages of using optional cargo transportation via water ways and railway. The port is not only able to move bulk faster, safer, cheaper, but also to reduce truck traffic on the Eastern highways,”Rumanyika told the Nile Post.
He added: “The duo of Kakira Sugar and SCOUL alone are scheduled to export a total of 48,000 tons of processed sugar to Tanzania through the Mwanza Port. That’s approximately 1,920 25ton trucks and drivers with crew removed from the highways.”
According to Rumanyika their officer in charge of the port, Hamid Aime is currently undertaking to ensure all other officers from Uganda Railways Corporation , marine police, immigration, and Ministry of Health play their roles in the smooth running of the port operations, especially in the observance of Covid-19 prevention protocols.
“This sugar export project is all in support of the recent presidential mutual agreement and exporter Memorandums of Understanding to enable Kakira sugar and SCOUL to export 48,000 tons to Kagera Sugar, Tanzania. This is a great boost aimed at revamping the Ugandan manufacturer’s productivity and the general economy, especially during this unpredictable Covid-19 period,” the URA Manager in charge of Corporate Affairs said.
This website has also learnt that the two sugar companies have hired three transit ferries without any cargo prior to docking at Jinja Port that will transport the sugar.
The three ferries include MT. Munanka and MV Wankyo and each can take 600 tons together with MV Nyakibalya which has a carrying capacity of 1,300 tons and these will move to and from Port Mwanza in Tanzania.
According to officials, each ferry takes an average of 36 hours from the Jinja Port to Mwanza whereas the loading process onto the ferry takes about two days.
Tanzania had in the past stopped Ugandan sugar from entering their market on allegations that the Kampala side was importing and repackaging sugar before re-exporting it to regional markets.
The Minister for Trade, Amelia Kyambadde recently said the agreement between Uganda and Tanzania is a relief to Ugandan millers who will now be able export their excess sugar.
“Our Sugar industry comprises of 11 functional Sugar Mills producing 510,000 metric tonnes and consumption is 360,000 metric tonnes per annum. Surplus is 150,000 metric tonnes and sufficient for export,”Kyambadde said last month.