The government will give a final bail out to cash strapped State owned sugar mills to rescue suffering cane farmers, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Mwangi Kiunjuri has said.
The CS said that this time round, the government would not just release cash and sit back and watch the same funds go down the drain but would ensure measures were put in place for prudent use to achieve the intended purpose.’
He said that despite numerous attempts by the Government to bail out a number of companies, Nzoia included, no major strides had been made towards reviving operations, adding that instead, they have kept asking for more year in year out.
Kiunjuri said that public millers that would not be able to sustain themselves after the final bail out would be closed down, arguing that there was no point of operating on paper yet farmers who were the main providers of raw material continued to languish in poverty.
He said ineffective boards of management would also be disbanded to pave way for selfless managers willing to serve the farmers with diligence.
“The die is cast. All non-performing State owned sugar mills will no longer be allowed to operate,” he said announcing that the government had dispatched auditors to verify staff records in Nzoia, adding that the payroll audit would be rid of ghost workers and suppliers before any cash was released.
He said once cleansed, payments would be wired directly into the genuine farmers and suppliers bank accounts.
Kiunjuri decried the sorry state of the county’s sugar and maize industries saying that they had been destroyed by cartels leaving farmers who toiled all along to suffer helplessly, promising to rein in on the cartels.
The CS said the money would be remitted before Christmas. He made the remarks at Nzoia Sugar Company in Bungoma, during a recent tour.
He was accompanied by Devolution CS, Eugene Wamalwa and Bungoma Governor, Wycliffe Wangamati.
The Government has shares in six sugar companies that include, Nzoia, Chemelil, South Nyanza, Miwani, Mumias and Muhoroni.
By Roseland Lumwamu