Livestock traders in Garissa now want the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) to pay them outstanding bills for livestock they supplied to the plant before implementing its proposed privatisation.
Addressing the press at the livestock market Wednesday, the traders led by the chair of Kenya Livestock Marketing Council Dubat Amey said the traders supplied their livestock to KMC on credit because they believed that in case the parastatal fails to pay them, then the government will come in.
According to a KMC report seen by KNA, the commission’s outstanding pending bills stands at over Sh 490 million which comprises Sh195 million for livestock suppliers.
Other bills are Sh 82 million for general suppliers, 122 million for statutory obligations and Sh 92 million for the off-take programme.
The Commission has been experiencing cash flow challenges and is not able to meet its obligations on a timely basis due to high operational costs arising from old machinery and low production levels due to frequent breakages.
The pending bills especially on livestock has affected the ability of the Commission to meet the current customers’ orders due to the fact that farmers are not willing to make further deliveries to the Commission.
Despite the challenges the Commission is facing, it has signed contracts with customers of approximately 1 billion which if fully serviced can help the Commission stabilize its cash flows and become profitable.
The report further says to enable the commission to stabilize and to win back the trust of livestock farmers, the Government through the ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries should support the Commission in ofsetting the pending bills.
Amey blamed mismanagement of the commission and rampant corruption for the downfall of the giant government parastatal.
He said that every part of the animals slaughtered including hooves, skin, horns are sold out.
“Where did all the money that KMC gets from the slaughter of the animals go to if not to the pockets of greedy and corrupt government officials,” Amey said.
“We have no problem with the parastatal being privatized. Our main concern is the money KMC owes the supplies of livestock,” he added.
Amey said Garissa traders alone are owed over Sh100 million by the commission.
By Jacob Songok