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Lawmaker defends the enactment of Sugar Bill 2022

Lawmaker defends the enactment of Sugar Bill 2022

Nyeri,

Thursday, March 14, 2024

KNA by Samuel Maina

Mukurwe-ini MP John Kaguchia has backed the Sugar Bill of 2022 saying it will help address the challenges facing the ailing sugar sector.

Speaking on Thursday on the Citizen TV breakfast show, the lawmaker told off those opposing the bill and vowed to fully support its enactment which he termed as a game changer for both farmers and consumers of the product.

He also defended the introduction of taxation on white sugar imports which he said will encourage local production of the product and boost supplies in the country.

“One of the things the Government has done is to introduce various taxation targets to discourage imports and then introduce other aspects to encourage production. The government has passed the Sugar Act and various aspects to encourage farmers to increase production in this country. One of the things the government has done is the proposal to write off a Sh 100 billion in terms of debts that had been owed by sugarcane farmers,” he said.

The Bill which was recently passed by the National Assembly is awaiting discussion in the Senate through the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture before it is assented to law by President Dr William Ruto.

Among the proposals contained in the Bill include the introduction of a sugar development levy, reintroduction of the Kenya Sugar Board, establishment of the Sugar Arbitration Tribunal and the Kenya Sugar Research Training Institute, sugarcane pricing committee as well as delineation of sugar catchment area into five zones.

Sugar production in the country has been on the decline since the 1980s when production stood at 401,239 MT against a demand of 299,514 MT to the current production of 491,100 MT against a demand of 900,000 MT.

This means the country must rely on importation to plug the deficit with the COMESA market being the lead supplier at 282,000 MT according to the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA).Kaguchia has also supported the Government’s plan to levy agricultural products withholding tax.

He said under the new arrangement, farmers will also be winners as the State will on its part provide subsidized farm inputs to farmers such as fertilizers and seeds which will eventually help boost their production and earnings.

The MP similarly said farmers will be assured of better returns for their produce through the improvement of marketing strategies that will see them sell their produce at a profit.

“The Ministry of Agriculture is going to ensure the farmer can get better prices for their products. Even if the farmers were to be taxed, they would have taken home much more than what they would have taken before because the markets are guaranteed. We cannot continue to demonize the contribution of the public to the same structure that is going to support them and claim to be honest. We are not only dishonest but also highly hypocritical,” he stated.

Under the new proposal farmers will be required to part with at least sh 5 for every sh100 as withholding tax.However, the proposed rate will not exceed 5 percent of the value of the produce delivered to the cooperatives or other organized groups, according to the Treasury.

Courtesy; KNA

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