President William Ruto has clarified the plan by the government to privatize the troubled Nzoia Sugar Company.
The Head of State revealed a new plan to be undertaken by his government to ensure the ailing sugar company runs efficiently.
Ruto was speaking in Bungoma County on Thursday February 1, 2024, where he attended the Nzoia Sugar Company Farmers’ meeting.
In his statement, the head of state told the farmers and workers that the government will not be putting the company up for sale as earlier planned.
“Nzoia Sugar Company is not on sale. The firm that is at the heart of Western Kenya’s economy is neither to be privatized nor leased,” said Ruto.
He went on to claim that his government will install professional management that will inject efficiency in the running of the sugar company.
Ruto on Debts
Also, the head of state noted that the government has already settled all the debts owed to the farmers.
“Under the fresh management, Nzoia Sugar whose debts have now been fully written off will pay farmers and workers’ dues on time,” he added.
The President further said that the County Government of Bungoma will also enjoy an annual dividend of not less than Sh300 million under the new management.
In the event, Ruto issued cheques to farmers and flagged off the National Fertilizer Subsidy Program.
He was flanked by other political leaders among them Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and National Assembly speaker Moses Wetangula.
The remarks by President Ruto came following a recent tussle between a section of Members of Parliaments and the company’s staff.
Both parties differed on January 27 as some of the company’s employees backed the state’s plan to privatize the sugar company.
“There is no need for the leaders to insist that the firm should not be privatized. In fact, we are for the privatization idea,” said an employee then.
However, Kanduyi MP John Makali stated that there will be no privatization as announced earlier by the government.
“I have come here specifically to clear the air about the state’s privatization plan. There is no plan to lease this company. This is our own and we won’t allow a foreigner to run it,” he said at the company premises.
Nzoia Sugar company was among the five state sugar millers that were set for leasing by the government.
In May 2023, the Cabinet approved the Privatization Bill, 2023, which gave power to the National Treasury to privatize public-owned enterprises without the approval of Parliament.
According to the state the privatization plan was part of a broader initiative involving twenty-five entities.
The entities in the initial privatization phase included the Kenya Meat Commission, Kenya Pipeline Company, Consolidated Bank, Kenya Ports Authority and Development Bank of Kenya.