The high volumes of sugar and sweets contributed to a general increase of
Between January and June this year, the value of imports increased by 13 per cent which widened the country's trade deficit by 17.4 per cent from
A trade deficit means
Consumer goods, which account for the majority of
While this represents an increase of only 0.9 per cent, it meant a 13 per cent rise in expenditure.
Governor Rwangombwa attributes the increase in consumer goods to high import volumes of sugar and sweets which increased by 51.2 per cent.
"This is due to the low domestic production of sugar which decreased by 9.2 per cent in the first half of 2014 as Kabuye Sugar Works closed during the second quarter for maintenance of machinery," Rwangombwa said.
At least 12.3 per cent of the import budget was spent on sugar and sweets while 34.2 per cent was spent on food products.
Kabuye Sugar Works, owned by
Last year, floods damaged part of the plant and 80 per cent of the sugar plantations, prompting producers to warn of low production this year.
The New Times couldn't reach the plant managers over the weekend for a comment but Jim Kabeho, the
"The factory (is normally) closed as part of the annual maintenance programme. Usually, we do the maintenance work between 50 and 60 days, but this year it will take longer because of the floods," Kabeho said.
To offset its huge import bill on sugar,
However, the Kabuye Sugar Works plant managers have always opposed the move, saying it encourages cheap sugar imports which outcompetes their own supplies on the local market.
But sugar consumers counter that Kabuye producers are standing on weak grounds given that their factory can't satisfy the needs of the local market.
For example, between January and
A couple of years ago, an investor,
The investor's company was officially incorporated in 2011 and held plans of sinking an initial investment of about
A kilogramme of unprocessed Stevier leaves goes for a minimum of
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