Assembly backs leasing of milk firm to investor

The facility has a capacity to process 35,000 litres of milk daily. [iStockphoto]

Murang'a county assembly has recommended the local county creameries be leased out to save it.

Trade and cooperatives assembly committee recommended leasing of the one billion shilling plant to earn revenue for the government. 

In a report seen by The Standard, the committee chaired by James Kabera, deputised by Chefman Gitau, disclosed that equipment worth Sh350 million was missing. 

Employees attached at the facility were paid Sh2.1 million per month. The facility was being managed by Simon Mukunu and former executive Paul Macharia among others.

The closure of the facility saw milk vendors back in the value chain before Governor Irungu Kang’ata's administration established a Sh200 million subsidy programme for milk and mango farmers.

“There is a need for a follow up on the stolen machines,” read part of the report.

Although the facility has a capacity to process 35,000 litres of milk daily, it was ordered closed in June following lack of cash flow to sustain the business.

Other operations that were affected included the transportation of milk from the 38 milk coolers managed by Murang’a County Creameries Cooperative Union (MCCCU). 

Revive operations

The report also exposed theft of crucial equipment from the premises as it recommended to Kang’ata administration to revive the operations and creation of a new board consisting of farmers, investors and representatives from the government to manage it.

MCAs also called on the county government to consider purchasing and installation of cost effective equipment for the rundown facility.

“The public used the facility for years thus the government should consider repairing all the faulty machines before its revival,” read part of the report.

Investigations were carried out for three months and revealed the facility closed in September last year had a Sh400 million debt that arose from unpaid transporters demanding Sh24.9 million.

 Other debts included unpaid milk delivered by the farmers of Sh6.9 million between May and June 22 last year.

The facility was established by former Governor Mwangi wa Iria, and negotiated price of milk at Sh35 per litre, before the same was increased to Sh42 in 2021.

Murang'a Senator Joe Nyutu has sought for a statement in the senate on reasons behind the closure of the milk processing plant.

Nyutu asked if the employees will be reinstated and the revival strategies to be applied by the government.