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Audit ailing sugar firms, region tells government

Dickens Wasonga @PeopleDailyKe

Sugar industry stakeholders want the government to conduct an audit on the State-owned sugar factories to inspire confidence in potential investors.

They said most factories collapsed as a result of mismanagement and corruption, thus a management and forensic audit would guide investors looking to revive the ailing firms. In the last seven years, the stakeholders said, the national government  has pumped Sh16 billion into the sugar industry but with minimal success.

They spoke during a consultative meeting bringing together Governors Anyang’ Nyong’o and Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), millers, farmers and county Agriculture executives from 14 lake region counties.

The stakeholders resolved that the Agriculture ministry  should guide the audit efforts to revive the ailing sector.

The participants also proposed that State-owned millers should be given a green light to source for strategic partners for capital injection.

“This industry affects 10 million people, more so farmers who are owed millions of shillings in arrears for cane deliveries,” said Oparanya.

The stakeholders said the National government in collaboration with the counties  and the Privatisation Commission should develop a roadmap for revitalisation of public sugar companies.

They also want the government to write off debts owed by the companies and roll out a short term bail-out plan for the firms.

“We have also agreed to have the sugar development levy reintroduced to facilitate research , development and infrastructure,” said Oparanya.

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