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Sugarcane farmers protest Shs 10,000 tax

KIKUUBE, March 7, 2024 – Leaders of Hoima Sugar Limited Out-Growers Association in Kikuube and Hoima districts have expressed dismay after Kikuube District Local Government imposed a Shs 10,000 tax on every truck loaded with sugarcane.

Recently the Kikuube district executive committee recommended that Shs 10,000 be charged on each truck loaded with sugarcane and passing in the territory of the district and the recommendation was passed as a resolution by the district council, raising eyebrows among cane farmers in the two districts.

Speaking of the importance of the proposed tax, Kikuube district LCV Chairman, Peter Banura said they will the particular tax revenue to rehabilitate roads damaged by the heavy trucks loaded with the sugarcane.

However, the cane famers are accusing the district leaders of double taxation. Justus Birungi, Spokesperson of the cane farmers’ association said Hoima Sugar Limited which buys cane from the farmers already pays taxes to the government.

“When the company [Hoima Sugar Limited] is setting the prices to be paid to the sugarcane farmers, the company also considers the issue of taxes,” he said.

He continued: we are surprised to see that Kikuube district wants to impose another on the farmers. If a farmer loads 100 trucks, it mean they will be deducting Shs 1 million from that farmer. This is unfair. Some time back, government imposed a withholding  tax of one percent  on every money that was paid to the farmer, but when farmers complained, this tax was scrapped, but now we are surprised that our district leaders want to levy a tax of Shs 10000 per truck loaded with the sugarcane.”

Francis Isingoma, Chairperson of Hoima Sugar Limited Out-growers Association said that the district came up with the tax without involving the association leaders.

Speaking at a farmers’ meeting which was held at Sir Tito playground in Kiziranfumbi Sub-county in Kikuube district, Isingoma said as farmers, they cannot be happy with the resolution of the district, saying the proposed tax would amount to double taxation.

He challenged the district leader to revise the tax, arguing that farmers have a lot of costs they incur as they venture in the business of sugarcane growing.

“We are requesting leaders to scrap off this tax, if they insist we are going to write to the president to intervene because this is exploiting the farmers,” he said.

Meanwhile, during the farmers meeting, they accused Hoima Sugar Limited for taking long [about two months] to pay for the sugarcane supplied to the company, on top of offering low prices.

He noted that other sugar companies such as Kyenjojo Sugar Factory pay the farmers immediately they deliver the sugarcane. He demanded the government to intervene to see that the farmers also benefit from their effort.

Responding to the farmers’ concerns, Israel Oditi, Communications Officer Hoima Sugar Ltd promised to submit all complaints raised by the farmers to management.

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