KAMPALA: The Minister of State of Finance-General Duties, Henry Musasizi, has asked Parliament for more time to allow his ministry to study the current inflation in commodity prices.
This was during the Tuesday plenary sitting where MPs queried the increasing prices of essential commodities that have posed challenges for sections of the population.
Kampala Central MP, Muhammad Nsereko, raised a matter of national importance with regard to the rising prices of essential commodities like soap, whose cost has increased from 3,600 to between 7,000 and 9,000 shillings.
Nsereko wondered what the government was doing to address the inflation of basic commodities. He said that the situation is becoming worse since fuel prices have also failed to go down.
Tororo Woman MP, Sarah Opendi, said that according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics-UBOS, the price of commodities like soap and other detergents has gone up by 85 percent.
“That is extremely high. Right Honorable Speaker, the manufacturers are actually blaming the government for imposing an import duty on the raw materials that they use to produce soap and detergents. The import duty is at 10 percent and, previously, these raw materials were zero-rated, “said Opendi.
Opendi asked that the government waive the import duty to enable citizens to access basic requirements at an affordable price.
Bugabula South MP, Henry Kibalya, also noted that the price of fertilisers had also gone up and that farmers were failing to purchase the input.
Buyaga West MP, Barnabas Tinkasimire, raised a similar query about agricultural inputs and prices for produce.
Dokolo Woman MP, Cecilia Ogwal, suggested that the Committee on Trade and that on Finance hold joint meetings to help the House understand the current inflation in commodity prices.
Musasizi acknowledged that there is a major concern among citizens who are finding it difficult to access essential commodities due to the abrupt rise in price levels.
He, however, appealed for more time to analyse the matter with the Ministry technical team and report back to the House. According to Musasizi, his ministry needs to know whether it is the taxes or the interest rates that are responsible for the situation.
The Deputy Speaker, Anita Among, said that the situation is serious and that the government needs to act urgently since it is affecting the population.
Butambala County MP, Muwanga Kivumbi, said that the current situation is an effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and that it has affected the supply chain across the world.
He demanded that the government, in its comprehensive statement, explain how the stimulus package was utilised and why the country is experiencing these effects.
The Minister of State for Finance-General Duties, Henry Musasizi.