Uganda: Legislators worried about high cost of essential commodities

File Phot- Ugandan Parliament. [Image: Courtesy]
Ugandan Members of Parliament have raised concerns about the growing costs of essential household commodities, and they want the government to intervene to stop the trend.

Hon Mohammed Nsereko, Kampala Central Member of Parliament, noted that worries over high gasoline prices had now transferred to rising prices of soap, detergents, and sugar, among other household goods.

“When we talked of fuel prices, government assured us of a comprehensive report on monitoring mechanisms that will deter fuel dealers from hiking the prices. It is a month now but we do not see any change,” Nsereko said.

Nsereko noted that, while the cost of living is rising, the pay of teachers and other workers has remained stagnant.

“Aware that people are struggling with loan payments, what is government doing to address this issue of inflation on basic commodities? Do we reduce the taxes?” Nsereko asked.

Tororo District Woman MP, Hon Hon Sarah Opendi said the Uganda Bureau of Statistics indicated that prices of soap and other detergent had gone by 85 per cent.

“Some experts say that the crude oil we have in Uganda is not sufficient enough to facilitate soap prediction. The Finance Minister should tell us what we can do, should we do away with import duty?” queried Opendi.

The Shadow Minister for Finance, Hon Muwanga Kivumbi tasked the Ministry of Finance to avail information to Parliament on how a stimulus package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was used.

He also told House that government acquired a loan of US$1 billion from the IMF and that US$280 million has already been disbursed.

“IMF availed resources to help world economies deal with the after effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. We must ask the Finance Minister how they applied the stimulus money they received,” Muwanga Kivumbi said adding that, ’let the Finance Ministry detail which company, agency or department has absorbed the money we borrowed.”

State Minister for Finance, Hon Henry Musasizi asked the House to grant him time to analyze the issue of inflation with technical officials and present a comprehensive statement on the matter.