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Ownership of sugar firms will be open to all, says CS

By Kevine Omollo | March 17th 2015

Kenya: Foreign investors will not have exclusive rights to acquire sugar companies in the country, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei has said.

Koskei has however said the privatisation of sugar companies will be open to anybody who can pump money in to save them from collapse.

Mismanagement and outdated equipment have  affected most sugar companies, with some stopping their operations while others operate below capacity.

President Uhuru Kenyatta recently came to the rescue of industries from Western by giving over Sh1 billion for settlement of debts owed to farmers.

But speaking in Kisumu over the weekend, Koskei said the move to privatise the sector has been made by the Government in a bid to comply with the Common Market for East and Southern Africa regulations.

"Most of the machines used in our public sugar industries have become old. We need money to acquire modern machines, which can give more products like water and electricity above the sugar produced," said Koskei.

Leaders from the sugar growing regions have also been on the fore front calling for the transfer of industries from the national to the county governments where they are situated.

Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma has said this would create job opportunities for locals and improve the county revenues. "The counties have the ability to run the sugar companies and the privatisation team should consider giving the companies to the counties," he said.

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