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Sugar Board team to be grilled over privatisation

By | February 18th 2010

By Kepher Otieno

Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture is expected to grill privatisation commission members and Kenya Sugar Board (KSB) officials over the intended sale of local sugar factories.

Yesterday, The Standard learnt the committee headed by Naivasha MP Joshua Mututho had summoned KSB Chief Executive Rosemary Mkok, Chairman Zachary Obado and other directors or the board.

Also summoned was privatisation Commission’s Chief Executive Officer Solomon Kitungu and Chairman Peter Kimuyu who are expected to shed light on how the process will be done.

Already, Agriculture Minister William Ruto has tabled a Sessional Paper before the Cabinet seeking clearance with the privatisation ahead of the expiry of Comesa safeguard period scheduled for 2012.

Obado said the meeting was on and will zero in on the privatisation alone.

"The committee wants to meet us to discuss how we intend to carry out the exercise and as well establish the level of indebtedness of the Companies," he said.

The meetings come in the wake of growing concerns among fishermen over the mode of auctioning the state firms. Even though, Ruto recently clarified to farmers that the process will be done through strategic investors, farmers are eager to know who the investors were.

Strategic Investors

Kenya National Sugarcane Growers Association (Kesga) Officials — Francis Waswa, Samwel Anyango and Owuor Kireu — demanded that the farmers know the investors.

"We must be told who the strategic investors are if the much hyped privatisation gets the Cabinet nod," said Anyango.

Yesterday, Obado said the board was awaiting for the Cabinet approval. "We are not sure of whether the Cabinet will approve or reject the proposals," he said.

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