15 November 2018

Kenya: Kiunjuri Puts Six Public Sugar Millers on Notice

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has threatened to close all State-owned sugar factories that fail to show financial stability.

He accused the management of the public sugar factories of underperformance. Due to bad management, the CS said, factories had gone under with millions of shillings they owed farmers.

MANAGEMENT

"In the next six months, I will personally shut down any State-owned sugar factory that will not be independent, and that will still be relying on the government for financial support.

"If it is poor management or bad board of management, I can assure you that we shall disband them all," Mr Kiunjuri said.

The CS spoke on Tuesday when he toured Nzoia Sugar Company in Bungoma County.

PRIVATISE

In the recent past, governors and politicians from the western Kenya sugar belt have moved to block plans to privatise state-owned sugar companies, namely, Chemelil, South Nyanza, Nzoia, Miwani (in receivership) and Muhoroni (in receivership).

They argued that the Privatisation Commission had failed to comply with the law.

GHOST WORKERS

Mumias Sugar has also failed to release the results on time as stipulated by the CMA, they said.

Mr Kiunjuri said that his ministry had dispatched a team of auditors to Nzoia Sugar, among other government-run sugar companies. He maintained that the government will not pay any ghost workers or suppliers.

"The auditors are going on well with their work and I am only waiting for their report before the end of next week.

TASK FORCE

"Once the report is out, I will convene a meeting with the sugar cane task force, upon which we shall start paying genuine farmers and suppliers directly into their bank accounts. I want to make it clear that no ghost worker or ghost supplier will be paid," Mr Kiunjuri said.

Governors Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma) and Stephen Sang (Nandi) will be included in the sugar cane task force, which is chaired by Kakamega's Wycliffe Oparanya and himself.

MAKE CLEAR

Other governors in the task force are Okoth Obado (Migori) and Anyang' Nyong'o (Kisumu).

"The farmers should expect the money in their accounts before Christmas, but let me make it clear that if any of them owes the factory, I will deduct and pay the miller," Mr Kiunjuri said.

Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa assured farmers that they will receive all their outstanding arrears in the next one month.

Senator Malala said the fastest way to audit the list of farmers is to ask all of them to gather at a ground and single out the genuine ones.

He cautioned some individuals planning to move to court to block the newly constituted sugar cane task force.

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