Hope as Cabinet shelves plans to privatise six sugar factories

Mumias Sugar Company. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The Cabinet has shelved plans to privatise six state-owned sugar millers and approved the programme for their revival and commercialisation

The decision sets the sugar sub-sector on a path of renewal where the sugar millers will be operated under a lease and operating framework.

The entities are Mumias Sugar Company, Nzoia Sugar Company, Chemilil Sugar Company, Miwani Sugar Company, Muhoroni Sugar Company and South Nyanza Sugar Company.

"To address the high retail price of sugar, the Cabinet sanctioned the extension of the framework for duty-free importation of milled sugars to bridge the supply deficit," read the Cabinet dispatch.

The Cabinet has directed fresh registration of Kenyans who have attained 65 years in a bid to update the database of beneficiaries of the Inua Jamii Safety Net programme.

The Cabinet which was presided over by President William Ruto at Sagana State Lodge, Nyeri County, yesterday, said the registration will commence on September 1. The initiative hopes to increase the beneficiaries from 1.2 million senior citizens including 353,000 orphans and vulnerable children, 833 129 elderly citizens and 47,000 persons with severe disabilities.

The Cabinet also approved the proposal to revive and commercialize the National Oil Cooperation of Kenya (NOCK) saying the move will benefit from a partnership that restructures it into three subsidiaries segmented around the petroleum products value chain. 

To boost the dairy sector, the Cabinet approved the duty-free importation of raw materials for the processing of animal feeds. 

"The State's intervention seeks to address the cost of production of animal feeds as part of a long-term strategy to enhance the competitiveness of Kenya's dairy sector," the Cabinet dispatch read in part. 

While launching the New KCC Kiganji branch, the President said his administration has set aside Sh3 billion to modernise the infrastructure of the dairy sector over a span of three years and another Sh8 billion for milk coolers, targeting Nyambene, Miritini and Kitale.

"Going forward, our milk retail prices will be Sh50 per litre. In the modernization process my administration has set aside Sh8 billion to purchase 630 milk coolers so that our farmers can have value addition to their produce," he said. 

Ruto said the Kenya Kwanza government is keen on doubling milk production in the country from five billion litres to 10 billion litres for the sector that earns Sh200 billion every year and benefits 300 million people. 

"We are ready to protect the market of our dairy farmers, unscrupulous milk traders have been bringing 100 million litres every year to mix with powdered milk and then use our neighbouring country to introduce their produce to the country," he said. 

To grow local manufacturing and exports, the Cabinet welcomed the approval by the Pan African Financial Institution (Afrexim Bank) for debt-free, 100 per cent equity investments of Sh420 billion in Special Economic Zones in Dongo Kundu, Naivasha and Isiolo as well as Export Processing Zones in Sagana, Delmonte, Eldoret and Busia regional centres. 

"The economic hubs are additionally expected to incubate Export Quality Assurance and Packaging as well as roll-out of electric boda bodas to support e mobility," the communique read. 

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