Ruto stops privatisation of sugar millers, promises to inject funds

President William Ruto launching the tarmacking of Malava - Kimang'eti- Ikoli road in Malava sub county on April 29, 2023. [Benjamin Sakwa, Stanadrd]

President William Ruto has stopped privatisation of State-owned parastatals.

Speaking in Malava constituency, Kakamega County, yesterday during the launch of the tarmacking of Malava-Kimang'eti-Ikoli road, Ruto said the government will inject capital to the debt-ridden companies to return them to profitability.

"I am not selling any State-owned company because it is making losses," said Ruto.

The President noted that Mumias Sugar Company, Nzoia, Sony, Chemelil, Muhoroni and Miwani sugar factories among others have debts of up to Sh60 billion, which he said will be written off.

"I have directed that the sugar factories go back to the locals. We want to change the narrative and ensure the millers start making profits and give our people jobs," said Ruto.

He further assured that no one would sell the land on where the factories are located, saying it belonged to the locals. Mumias Sugar Company has 12,500 acres of land while Nzoia Sugar Factory has 24,500 acres of sugarcane nucleus.

"West Kenya and Butali sugar companies don't have a single acre of nucleus but they are making profits. I wonder how State owned sugar factories with huge chunks of land are having huge and unexplained debts?" posed Ruto.

"I have ordered the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary to sit with governors and MPs from the sugar belt zone and agree on how to run the sugar factories to profitability," he added.

Nzoia Sugar Factory will be the first to benefit after Ruto promised to procure a new milling machine at a cost of Sh5 billion. At the same time, the Head of State warned Azimio leader Raila Odinga against resuming weekly protests.

"The demos were pegged on price of maize flour (unga) which has now reduced from Sh230 to Sh160 but they still want to hold protests. Even if you demonstrate with sufurias on your head for 10 years instead of going to till land, price of unga will remain the same," said Ruto.

"For the avoidance of doubt, I am the Commander in Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces and Raila will know I am the President of Kenya. I will deal with him ruthlessly this time round," he added.

The Head of State declared that he will not allow destruction of property, looting of business premises and loss of lives in the name of protests.

"Raila is looking for a handshake but I won't give in to that, let him wait up to 2027 when we shall meet at the ballot. Let him get another country to live in and give me time to govern this country," said Ruto.

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi asked said Raila to stop causing mayhem given that former President Uhuru Kenyatta has recognised Ruto's government. "Uhuru went to went to Kileleshwa at Jubilee party offices and said that he doesn't have a problem with the current regime," said Mudavadi.

However, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula said the former President stooped too low by going to Jubilee Party offices to solve wrangles.

"From Uhuru's actions, it clearly shows that even the child of a circumciser can feel pain. I saw Uhuru being pushed by the rowdy youths and got ashamed," said Wetang'ula.

"He should give dignity to the office of a retired president. That's a hallowed office and he should not be supporting those protesting with sufurias on their head," he added.

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