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Kikuube: Councillors reject Shs 10,000 levy on sugarcane out-growers

KIKUUBE, June 4, 2024 – Kikuube district councillors have rejected a proposal by the district executive committee [DEC] to impose a Shs 10,000 tax on sugarcane out-growers, saying it is meant to exploit the farmers.

In the recent council meeting, DEC led by Peter Banura, the district LCV Chairperson presented a proposal to impose the said tax on each truck loaded with sugarcane passing through the district.

According to DEC, this tax would help the district get more revenue to rehabilitate the roads that are always damaged by the trucks loaded with sugarcane.

However, the district council rejected the tax proposal after farmers petitioned the district speaker, Chris Nkalu about the tax, describing it as double taxation.

The farmers in their petition said the company that buys their sugarcanes pays government taxes, adding that it also considers tax when setting up prices for the raw material.

In rejecting the tax proposal, councillors reasoned that it would be equivalent to exploiting the farmers.

Alex Byesi, a councillor representing Kabwoya Upper on the district council said there is no ordinance supporting the new tax on cane growers, so it cannot be implemented.

Instead, he said the district council is in the process of establishing a sugarcane protection law where such charges will be imposed on the miller and not the common man.

“The council has already drafted a sugarcane protection bill and we have sent this bill to the Solicitor General for advice. When the Solicitor General brings it back, the council will pass it as a law and it is from this law that the council will be charging the miller a fee that will be agreed upon and not the farmers,” said Byesi.

Meanwhile, Nkalu commended councillors for taking a bold decision against a tax recommendation, saying it would exploit the farmers, adding that sugarcane farmers incur many costs of production.

“We have taken a bold decision as council to stop charging the sugarcane out-grower. The reason is that these sugarcane factories pay local service revenue to the district. We have to protect and empower the farmers. When we go ahead and extort the little money they are earning from each tonne of sugarcane, then we will be pushing them into poverty,” he said.

Peter Banura the Kikuube district chairperson expressed dismay with the council’s decision, adding the DEC recommendation was not targeting farmers in the district but it was targeting farmers who move sugarcane out of the district.

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