Santander Sugar Limited says that 204 metric tons of white sugar and 12.5 metric tons of brown sugar were given to a local distributor in order to quote, “explore the local markets to determine if the new products produced could capture markets based on colour and quality alone.” End of quote. According to Santander, the feedback was positive. However, Former Prime Minister and PUP Leader, Said Musa says that in order to protect the local cane farmers, Santander Sugar should not be granted the waiver.
Said Musa, Former Prime Minister: “I have no doubt about it, I will always come down on the side of the 5,000 farmers who are the ones producing the sugar man, really they are the ones.
Reporter: Santander want about 30% of the pie of the industry.”
Said Musa, Former Prime Minister: “Well they knew when they made the investment from day one, according to the evidence I’m told they knew from day one, in fact they gave an undertaking that this industry was in their case for the export market so I think they have to live with that.”
Reporter: You don’t believe the government should grant them the waiver ?
Said Musa, Former Prime Minister: “I don’t believe so. Unless they can show that they can show there is a shortage on the market or something. In other words there have to be good reasons for us to allow two unequal partners to compete because one has a tax regime that benefits them the other one doesn’t. Although they did have a 25 year tax regime as well the ASR people but the farmers don’t have that.”
Reporter: 5,000 farmers.
Said Musa, Former Prime Minister: “5,000 farmers they don’t get that tax exemption so why should we punish them just to help these big multinationals?”
According to Santander Sugar, it employs more than one thousand employees.