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State targets to raise Sh3b in rights issue to rescue Mumias Sugar

By Grace Wekesa and Michael Ollinga | Published Sun, March 27th 2016 at 00:00, Updated March 27th 2016 at 13:53 GMT +3
From left: Former Shinyalu MP Kizito Mugali, Deputy president William Ruto and Mumias Sugar Chief Factory Opetrations Officer Josphat Asira inside Mumias Sugar Factory.  He promised Sugar cane farmers that government would provide subsidized farm inputs and lauded the government efforts to curb importation of cheap sugar into the country. BY CHRISPEN SECHERE.

The government plans to inject Sh3 billion into cash-strapped Mumias Sugar Company (MSC) through a rights issue, Deputy President William Ruto has said.

Speaking yesterday when he toured the company, the DP said this would ensure farmers and workers are paid promptly.

“We intend to raise Sh3 to 4 billion on a rights issue so that we can turn around the fortunes of this company. The board is working on a plan, we want MSC to succeed because its success touches thousands of Kenyans,” said Ruto.

He said the government also plans to intervene in cane development to ensure the miller operates at full capacity.

“Production at MSC has increased from 350-450 tonnes a day. We hope to get back to 7,000 tonnes when this factory began. That is possible through cane development which is our next area of intervention,” he added.

The DP was accompanied by MPs Benjamin Washiali, Bernard Shinali, former Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito and ODM national Youth chairman Rashid Mohammed.

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Meanwhile, the DP has warned government officials and farmers against colluding with middlemen to acquire subsidised fertiliser from the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) stores which they repackage and sell at a high cost.

Speaking when he made an impromptu visit to the Eldoret NCPB depot, Ruto said the fertiliser is solely meant to benefit farmers and not businessmen.

Cheap fertiliser

The DP revealed that the government allocated Sh3.2 billion in the current financial year for fertiliser subsidies to boost food security.

“The subsidy wasn’t meant for brokers who have been a perennial nightmare in the agriculture sector, sadly some farmers who are the targeted beneficiaries are being bribed by middlemen who they help to get fertiliser from NCPB which they repackage and resale to individuals very expensively,” Ruto said.

He announced that individuals behind cartels that have been illegally acquiring the commodity have been arrested.

“County governments, farmers and NCPB should now work together and close all the loopholes these unscrupulous businessmen are using to get rich at the expense of genuine farmers,” he said.

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