Tough times: Fresh pledge by state to revive Mumias Sugar

Deputy President William Ruto (in brown khakis) in a dance during the official opening of Wanga Technical and Vocational college at Mumias East, Kakamega yesterday. [Benjmian Sakwa, Standard]
The state is ready to relinquish its stake in Mumias Sugar Company to the Kakamega County Government.

Deputy President William Ruto said the government was considering handing over its 20 per cent shares as part of the ailing firm’s turnaround strategy.

Speaking at Lubinu in Mumias East during the launch of Wanga Technical and Vocational Institute on Friday, Ruto said they were ready to work closely with Governor Wycliffe Oparanya’s administration in reviving the sugar factory.

He said the miller stands a better chance of revival if the county government has a bigger say in its daily operations.

SEE ALSO :Fire guts sugarcane at Mumias Sugar estate

“We have agreed as the national government and told the county government that we are ready to give up those shares we own at the miller,” said Ruto.

The DP said the county government had shown a turnaround plan that will help revive the miller and it ought to be given a chance to run operations at the factory.

“This move will allow the county with its own people to find a lasting solution that will change the fortunes of Mumias Sugar and benefit the farmers and people of this region,” he said.

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Ruto said the national government had done enough towards the revival of the company and it was time another method was adopted.

Enough is enough

“We brought the first Sh2 billion here and it went under, we added another Sh2 billion, again it was misappropriated. We looked at that and said enough is enough,” he said.

The National Treasury has already brought Sh3.7 billion in bailout cash to the miller but the money did not bring the once giant factory back to life. The DP said the miller’s management should blame itself for misusing the bailout cash. Ruto said the miller still had the capability to be revived, but it had to pick lessons from how other millers that are private-owned are run. Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) on September 24 appointed Ponangipalli Rao of Tact Consultancy Services to act as receiver manager at the miller.

Ruto urged the bank to talk with the county government on how the receivership could amicably be handled and the miller revived.

The surrender of the government stake would be a big score for Governor Oparanya’s administration as he has been pushing for the shares to be transferred to the county.

Oparanya has maintained that it would be prudent for him to run shots at the miller since agriculture is a devolved function. Mumias East Benjamin Washiali who had hosted the DP had asked the national government to talk to the receiver to ensure that the no properties of the miler were sold to recover the billion the bank was owed.

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Mumias Sugar CompanyKakamega CountyWilliam RutoSugar woes