Government won’t raise sugar price


The government will not increase the price of sugar despite the request made by one on the country’s major sugar manufacturers for it to do so. Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said this was because the government had only recently, in March, raised sugar price by 11 sen while the world market price of the commodity had dropped.

He said the government had raised the sugar price at the time because the global market price then was at US22 cents to US23 cents per pound.”So, why should we increase the price (of sugar) when the world market price has dropped?” he said, referring to the current world market price at US17 cents per pound.Hamzah was responding to the request made by local sugar producer, MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd, to raise the rice of sugar by 29 sen per kg, when met by reporters at the ministry’s monthly assembly, here, Tuesday.

The minister said the top management of MSM Malaysia including its chief executive officer had met up with him recently to discuss the matter.”I told them firmly that the price of sugar could not be increased unless the company has made a big loss.”But MSM Malaysia has recorded making profits, hence it is unfair for the government to allow sugar price to be raised to enable the company to double its profit,” he said.

At the assembly, Hamzah also launched the “#janganlebihlebih menjelang sambutan bulan Ramadan dan Aidilfitri” video campaign to create awareness among consumers not to overspend or waste, but to spend moderately.The minister also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Malaysia Cooperative College and Skills Development Department to boost managing of cooperatives in this country. – Bernama

Sugar prices rise in ctg markets – The Price of Sugar

from daily star, by Dwaipayan Barua Sugar prices have gone up in most of the kitchen markets in the port city because of a supply crunch in the Khatunganj wholesale market.

Price of sugar increased by Tk 3 to Tk 5 a kg to Tk 66-68 a kg in the retail markets in the last three days, which was Tk 62-63 on Wednesday. Retailers have blamed a shortage of supply from the dealers in the Khatunganj wholesale hub for the increase in the price of the sweetener.

MSM respects govt’s decision not to further hike sugar price


KUALA LUMPUR (May 24): Sugar manufacturer MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd will respect the government’s decision not to increase refined sugar price, despite its previous attempt to do so.

“As sugar is gazetted under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011 (Determination of Maximum Price — No.2, Order 2017), rest assured that MSM is committed to provide a steady and sufficient sugar supply for the nation, particularly with the upcoming festive period,” the company, which control 60% of the country’s refined sugar supply, said in a media statement today.

“While there is a late gradual decline of international raw sugar prices, the global sugar commodity is heavily operating at a volatile market environment. We continue to engage with the government and update them on the global sugar market and [are] hopeful for a favourable outcome,” added MSM, which produced 1.12 million tonnes of refined sugar in 2016.

MSM’s statement came after Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin told reporters yesterday that the government will not increase the price of sugar.

“The sugar company that wanted an increase in the price of sugar sent their CEO, their board members, their officers to see me. I told them, no way! Unless (the current situation) is affecting their factories and mills, I think it is only fair to maintain the current price,” Hamzah was quoted as saying.

He also said global raw sugar price has dropped, and currently stood at US$0.17 per pound. “Why should there be a price increase when the price of global [raw sugar] has decreased?”

Hamzah was responding to reports that MSM wanted to increase the local sugar price by another 29 sen per kg to ensure profitability.

In financial year ended Dec 31, 2016, MSM saw its net profit declined by 56.15% to RM120.72 million from RM275.3 million a year ago.

In the firm’s Annual Report 2016, MSM’s president and chief executive officer Mohamad Amri Sahari @ Khuzari blamed the sharp drop in earnings on two factors: the weakening of the ringgit and the increasing cost of raw sugar, which accounts for 80% of the company’s total operating cost.

Mohamad Amri noted in the annual report that sugar price peaked at 25 US cents per pound in 2016, which was a significant 77% increase from 13 US cents per pound — the lowest sugar price — recorded in 2015.

“It is expected that the raw sugar price will hike further in 2017 due to the current world sugar deficit,” he said in the annual report.

On March 1 this year, Hamzah signed an executive order to approve the increase in price of coarse refined sugar by 11 sen. This resulted in retail sugar price jumping to RM2.95 per kilogram (kg) from RM2.84 per kg previously.

Under Control of Supplies Act 1961, sugar is listed as one of the 22 items classified as controlled goods.

MSM shares were trading at RM4.50 at 4:30pm, giving it a market capitalisation of RM3.16 billion.

That’s Sweet, They’ll be no price in sugar hike


PUTRAJAYA: There will be no further hike in the price of sugar, assures Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin.

He said the top executives of a sugar company met with him recently and asked to consider increasing the price.

“The sugar company that wanted an increase in the price of sugar sent their CEO, their board members, their officers to see me.

“I told them, no way! Unless (the current situation) is affecting their factories and mills, I think it is only fair to maintain the current price,” said Hamzah at a press conference after his ministry’s monthly assembly.

He was responding to reports that MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd, a top sugar producer in the country, wanted to increase the local sugar price by another 29 sen per kg to ensure profitability.

Hamzah said the request was unreasonable, especially after the Government sanctioned a hike of 11 sen last March.

The minister said global price of sugar was on the decline.

“I will not increase the price of sugar. Why must I increase the price when everybody knows that at the moment, the world market price is going down?

“Last year in November and December, it was true that the global price of sugar went up to about US$0.22 (95 sen) per pound. But now it has gone down to about US$0.17 per pound. So why are the suppliers asking for an increase in sugar price?

“When we allowed the 11 sen hike last March, the increase should be enough to help the companies to cover their costs. Now that the world price has gone down, they should be able to cover previous losses.

“If businesses do not know how to manage their profit and losses, it is not my fault or the consumer’s. It is not for us to ensure producers make money all the time,” said Hamzah.

Earlier, Hamzah launched a ministerial campaign dubbed #janganlebihlebih aimed at educating consumers not to be excessive, especially with the fasting month coming up.

Hamzah said there was a tendency for consumers to splurge when shopping or to waste food during Ramadan and the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations.

“The campaign’s slogan of #janganlebihlebih is short yet catchy, and we hope it will educate consumers to practise moderation,” he added.


Government will not increase the sugar price


PUTRAJAYA – The government will not raise the price of sugar despite the request to do so from the sugar manufacturers, said the Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin.

The government has just increased the price of sugar to 11 sen in March, besides, the global price of sugar has also reduced, he added.

He explained, the government raised the sugar price in March as the global market price for sugar was between US$0.22 to US$0.23 per pound.

“There is no reason for me to do that when the global sugar price has reduced,” he said while referring to the current sugar price of US$0.17 per pound.

He was asked to comment on the request of MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd to increase the price of sugar to 29 sen. He added, the senior management of MSM Malaysia including its Chief Executive Director had met up with him to discuss on the matter.

“I told them sternly that the price of sugar cannot be increased, unless the company is suffering huge loss.

“It is unfair for the government to increase the sugar price so that MSM Malaysia can record profits in folds,” he said.

Hamzah also launched the #janganlebihlebih campaign in conjunction of the Ramadanand Aidilfitri celebration. The three series of 20 seconds video clips aims to create awareness among consumers to spend in moderation and not to waste.

During the same event, Hamzah also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Malaysia Cooperative College and Skills Development Department to boost the cooperatives in this country. -MalaysiaGazette

Consumers suffer as misuse of govt subsidy goes unchecked

from Express Tribune, by Zafar Bhutta
ISLAMABAD: The misuse of government subsidy goes on unchecked in Pakistan as happens in cases of sugar and wheat.

Ramazan package, an annual feature, is no exception, though it is supposed to provide some solace to the country’s citizens from rising prices in the holy month. But subsidy under this package proves to be a blessing for some suppliers, who provide adulterated products to the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) at higher prices.

read here –

Sugar price stays, Trade Ministry says no to price hike


PUTRAJAYA: The government stands firm in its decision not to increase the price of sugar despite calls for a price hike by sugar producer MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin assured the public that there would not be any increase as the global raw sugar price has dropped, currently standing at US$0.17 per pound.

“Why should there be a price increase when the price of global price has decreased?

“Their call to increase the price was simply unfair. I can tell you the sugar producers have been recording a steady profit since the last price revision in March,” he told reporters after ministry’s monthly assembly today.

On March 1, the price of coarse refined white sugar was increased by 11 sen due to an increase in the price of imported raw sugar, going up to RM2.95 per kg. Prior to this, the price of stood at RM2.84 per kg.

Hamzah said the top management of MSM Malaysia including their chief executive officer had met him recently on the matter.

“Nevertheless, I stood firm in the decision not to increase the price. The government would have probably considered their request if the sugar producing companies are faced with major losses.

“But in this case, they have been recording a steady profit. It’s not fair as it is only to increase their profit while burdening the people,” he added.

In a news report last week, Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) had also expressed concerns over the request to increase the price.

Its vice-president Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman said it wouldn’t be fair as the consumers were recently faced with an increase.

“Further increase will only result in price hikes of other goods in the market,” he said.

Uganda: Address Rising Cost of Living


Yesterday’s Daily Monitor cover story stated that the cost of feeding a family has gone up by 30 per cent since last year.

The biggest complaint right now is the price of sugar. Whereas a kilogramme cost Shs3,500 some months back, it now goes for between Shs4,500 and Shs7,000. Prices of other food stuffs have also been going up rather rapidly since last year. A kilo of Kaiso rice that cost Shs3,000 in the past now costs Shs3,800. A kilo of groundnuts that cost Shs5,000 now costs Shs7,000. A bunch of matooke, a staple in many homes, now goes for between Shs25,000 and Shs30,000, up by Shs5,000 and more.

Because of this situation, families now have to make cutbacks on what they can afford to have. In addition to that, people have to cut back on other items they might now consider as luxuries or as items they will just have to do without.

Uganda is certainly not the only country facing tough economic times. Zimbabwe in Southern Africa has for many years been facing a serious economic crisis and continues to face mind-boggling inflation and a rise in crime. Many of its citizens have also left the country looking for better incomes elsewhere.

Further from home, Venezuela is facing turbulent times as well because of the nose-diving economy. According to economists, inflation in the country is expected to rise to 700 per cent.

These two countries were in the past some of those doing really well in their respective continents. Zimbabwe was once described as a breadbasket of the Southern African region and Venezuela thrived on its oil exports. But their economies have plummeted.

Reports show that Venezuela’s economy shrunk by 10 per cent last year. Zimbabwe has had its fair share of hyperinflation and just months ago, citizens had to queue up at the banks as early as 5am (with some even sleeping on the bank premises) in order to get some cash before it run out.

The countries are now beset with crime, black markets and desperate citizens leaving in droves in order to find ways to earn an income.

Uganda is not there yet, but there are lessons that should be picked. The current economic hard times should be an eye opener and should serve as warning sign of a problem, which the government should seek to fix before it becomes a full blown crisis.

Let us not travel the path of Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

Uganda: Cost of Feeding Family Up 30 Per Cent in 2017


Kampala — A Ugandan family of six that relies on groceries on average now requires about Shs36,000 to afford breakfast, lunch and dinner for its members, according to a survey by this newspaper.

This is a 33 per cent increase in the cost of the same basket of food and associated household items within a year from May 2016.

In accounts offered by dozens of vendors and buyers across the country, a family of six on average in a day consumes a kilogramme of meat, a loaf of bread, one-quarter of a bunch of matooke, a kilogramme of maize or cassava flour and half a kilogramme of sugar, rice and beans as well as one litre of milk.

A separate finding by Info Trade Uganda, a market research organisation, also confirmed general increase in food prices over the past year.

Currently a kilogramme of beef costs Shs10,000, a bunch of matooke Shs30,000, a kilogramme of rice Shs3,800, a kilogramme of maize or cassava flour at Shs3,000 and Shs1,900, respectively. A litre of packed milk costs on average Shs2,500 while fresh unpacked milk goes for Shs1,300 per litre.

These computations, however, exclude auxiliary items such as cooking and spices whose prices have markedly increased.

Our surveys in nine main markets, four in Kampala and five in regional towns, show that each family is on average spending between Shs20,000 to Shs39,000 more on the same basket of food this month than a year ago.

The prices have risen more sharply in Mbale and Masaka towns in eastern and central regions, respectively.

This makes them the most expensive towns to live in, followed by Kampala and Arua in West Nile.

Items that have registered the biggest increase in prices include, matooke, with a bunch costing Shs10, 000 to Shs20,000 more today than last May, and a bag of charcoal whose price is up by Shs20,000 in Mbale and Shs15,000 in the capital.

To make matters worse, the increase in the price of a kilogramme of sugar in the past fortnight from Shs3, 500 to, in some places, Shs7, 000 has alarmed the country, piling pressure on the government that has imposed an unenforceable Shs5,000 price cap.

This newspaper conducted the mini-surveys on May 16 and inquired about the prices of a kilogramme of maize and cassava flour, a bunch of matooke, a kilogramme of beef, beans, rice and sugar, a litre of milk, a loaf of bread, and a bag of charcoal items essential to fix breakfast or a main meal.

Our survey shows only a kilogramme of meat has over the past twelve months had a fairly stable price, at Shs10,000 across the country and there is a marginal increase in the price of milk.

Prices of auxiliary items such as cooking oil and spices such as tomatoes and onions have also gone up, creating head ache for family heads on fixed income to put even a single decent meal on the table.

The markets our reporters visited included, Nakasero, Nakawa, St Balikuddembe or Owino and Kamwokya in Kampala and Arua, Gulu, Mbale, Masaka and Mbarara main markets.

It excludes supermarkets where some of the selected food items cost even more.

Part of the reason for the upswing in prices, according to traders, is the massive crop failures due to drought and exploitative commission charged by middlemen in the wake of increasing transport fares.

“The prices appear to be high but we don’t get profits as the transport and inputs are also high,” said Mr Umar Katende, a farmer and vendor at Nyendo market in Masaka. “After selling [the food stuff], we end up making losses.”

Ms Patricia Nakabugo, a mother of four and a fresh food vendor in Nakawa market in the city, is one of millions of Ugandans struggling to feed her family of six.

“Our meals, breakfast, lunch, supper, used to cost us about Shs20,000, but now to afford these (same food stuff), we have to spend about Shs40,000 yet our income has remained the same,” she said.

Like many with a fixed earning, she says it is hard for her to make a trade off about what to spend on current consumption needs and save for her children’s tuition as well as housing.

According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the annual food crops and related items’ inflation rose to 21.6 per cent for the year ending April 2017 from five per cent in May 2016. It is not only individual families seeing dark clouds in the economy.

Two days after the International Monetary Fund slashed the country’s economic growth by a digit-point to 3.5 per cent, Uganda Revenue Authority, the government’s tax collector, announced Shs240b shortfall in revenue collection and signaled it was unlikely to meet its 2016/17 financial year target.

The big thunder of a gloomy economy has stricken disposable income for households, resulting in diminished welfare, low demand, and loan defaults and, as police records show, an increased crime.

“Times are really tough, the prices of food stuffs have gone so high and particularly this month, sugar, breakfast, bread have become a luxury in our home because we can’t afford them,” Ms Nakabugo told this newspaper at Nakawa market last week.

Her husband, a produce dealer, said the rising costs of living prompted him to nudge his wife, who until 2014 was a house wife, to try her hands out on business to supplement the family income.

Some nine million Ugandans, according to official statistics, already live below poverty line, meaning they are less padded against prices fluctuations and are promptly distressed by the slightest upward movement in prices of household essentials.

Rising rent and multiple dues mean tenants and traders have to transfer the costs to buyers through increasing prices.

“The price of everything here (Nyendo market) is hiked and now unaffordable,” said Masaka Town resident Alex Kirangwa, adding, “Instead of buying a bunch of matooke, you end up buying its fingers.”

In the main market in Kamokya, a Kampala Suburb, Mr Zubairi Magoola said the higher prices have resulted in reduced number of customers as well as profit margins.

Bread at Shs4, 500 per loaf, he said, is a “luxury in most homes”.

He said: “At my home, we have started taking tea without sugar like it happened during (former President) Idi Amin’s time.” Mr Magoola suggested that manufacturers too are more likely to take a hit as households adjust their spending to priorities such as food and education ahead of clothes, beverages and beauty accessories.

This is unlike the case for the wealthy, a tiny fraction of the country’s population, who are able to accommodate abrupt and drastic price swings within their income and with comfort.

According to Uganda National Bureau of Statistics, Uganda’s rich spend most of their income on transport (luxury vehicles), the middle class on utilities and rent while food takes the bulk of the poor’s budget. And things seem more likely to get worse for the most vulnerable.

Mr Gaster Lule, the Chairman of Uganda Bakers Association, told Daily Monitor in an interview that they plan to review the price of bread upwards after consultations with their members.

This, he says, is due to the sharp rise in the price of sugar, a key ingredient for making bread and other confectionaries like cakes, cookies and pastries.

The price of a loaf of bread has between May 2016 and this month increased by a maximum of Shs500. Mr Lule said individual bakers decide the price for other confectionary products.

Mr Nathan Ngobi, a fresh food seller, said the prices could be increasing this season due to high demand growing demand in Southern Sudan where risks are high but profits temptingly handsome.

In the city’s busy Nakasero market, Mr Asuman Kizza has been vending vegetables for more than 20 years.

He perched on a stool beside his stall, chin buried in folded right palm, and wore a pensive look.

“A year ago, we used to buy a 100 kilogramme bag of onions from the farmers at Shs170, 000 but this has increased to Shs250, 000,” he said, shaking his head in apparent disbelief.

He acknowledged the inflation was taking a toll on his family’s welfare and business. “We used to wait for the farmers to bring the products to us. But right now we have to book the products from the gardens if we are to stay in business,” Mr Kizza said. The story is not any different in St Balikuddembe (Owino) market, considered by city dwellers as one of the cheapest markets in Kampala.

Mr Silas Wambete, a maize flour vendor, used during the past four years to stock more than 8 tonnes of maize. Now he can afford to store only half that quantity.

“This is the highest food prices have gone in all the three years I have been doing this business. Because of the high prices of flour, I can no longer stock enough like I used to do a year ago,” he said. Mr Wambete said he now sells a 50-kilogramme bag of maize flour at Shs135, 000, up from Shs60, 000 a year ago.

Additional reporting by Felix Warom, Christopher Kisekka, Joel Tooyeronga, Yahudu Kitunzi and Felix Ainebyoona.

Big Sugar makes sour impact on Everglades – The Price of Sugar

From Las Vegas Sun, by Kerry Jackson
Some Americans are aware that the federal sugar program makes their food cost more. But few know this same program is causing environmental wreckage in Florida that their tax dollars will have to pay for.

The sugar program, known to its many critics as the “sugar racket,” is a tangle of price supports, which increase the cost of sugar in the United States, and tariffs and quotas on imported sugar, which keeps cheaper sugar from reaching our market.

Read here –