• Authored By: Alon Mwesigwa
31 Mar 2023

Economic Policy Research Centre has received a greenlight to carry out a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) for the sugarcane sub-sector in Uganda.

Mr. Patrick Ocailap, the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury (DPST), said the RIA will “lead to a serious policy direction that is necessary to take care of all the weaknesses, best practices elsewhere that work for the [sugarcane] industry to try and drive the agenda for import substitution and export promotion…”

RIA involves critically assessing the positive and negative effects of proposed and existing regulations and non-regulatory alternatives[i]. (“Regulatory impact assessment – OECD”). The sub-sector is currently regulated under the 2010 National Sugar Policy and the Sugar Act, 2020. These regulations have, however, hardly mainstreamed the operations of sugarcane sub-sector, leaving a broken relationship between powerful millers and powerless farmers.

Farmers need favourable policy environment to benefit from the crop

The RIA will be backed by the market studies done on the sub-sector. Mr. Ocailap was speaking at the 25th Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED)Top Technical Management (TTM) where EPRC presented key findings from the nationwide sugarcane sub-sector study detailing key challenges with the current regulatory environment. The study findings were presented by Dr. Swaibu Mbowa, a senior research fellow at the EPRC.

The DPST described the sugarcane study as “an excellent” and added, “the take-home message is based on the existing policies, and the weaknesses that we set out to address. They are all here. These are the things that as the result of the current policies, are not working – right from the pricing, coordination arrangements, Research and Development – [necessitating] the current policy overhaul.”

The EPRC has published the full report of the sugarcane sub-sector in Uganda.

Dr. Swaibu Mbowa presenting to Ministry of Finance top technical management.

EPRC Executive Director Dr. Sarah N. Ssewanyana “appreciated the confidence that the DPSST gave us” and said the Centre acknowledges that fact that there are people and firms involved in the sugarcane sub-sector trying to innovate to expand the product space. “And in this case, an action can deter their innovation which calls for carefulness [to ensure supportive and favourable policy environment],” she said.

EPRC will conduct the RIA as an agency – on an agent-owner arrangement. It will consult with Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives.

[i] OECD definition: https://www.oecd.org/gov/regulatory-policy/ria.htm


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