County awaits go-ahead from Senate Committee for the construction of Sugar mill

Kisii county governor James Ongwae and Viod Vora of Kanoria Group of Companies (right) after signing a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on March 03,2016.  [Photo: Denish Ochieng/ Standard]

Success of the much awaited Nyangwenta Sugar Factory now lies with the Senate Committee on Land and Natural Resources, a governor has said.

Speaking yesterday, Governor James Ongwae said the report had gone through all Senate stages but they had to wait for a green light from the entire House.

The committee is yet to present its report before the House more than 100 days after a visit to the proposed site in South Mugirango.

If approved and construction completed, the factory will have a capacity to crush 5,000 tonnes of cane a day, and produce ethanol and 10 megawatts of power to the national grid.

Mr Ongwae had sought Senate’s intervention to allow his administration to take part of the forest that is at the centre of the sugar belt to accommodate the sugar factory.

Indian investor

An Indian investor has already registered Kisii Renewable Energy and Sugar Factory Company Limited and will invest Sh5 billion to build the facility.

“Without approval, I may not get another piece of land to put such a factory. This is a private entity that encompasses efficiency as its core responsibility,” said Ongwae.

Despite earlier contradicting a report from the Ministry of Environment, the governor said everything was pegged on the Senate.

The committee, chaired by Nyandarua Senator Paul Mwangi, visited Nyangweta Forest on April 18 and promised to present a report in the Senate in 60 days.

Construction of the factory was mooted in 2015, when the county government commissioned an environmental impact assessment report on the viability of the project.

However, committee clerk Victor Bett said there were no repercussions in not tabling the report in 60 days. “The committee will adopt the report and immediately table it before the whole House,” he said