The Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and C0-operatives Peter Munya has said plans to lease 5 financially troubled state-owned sugar factories is still on the cards.
This is despite legal hurdles that have stalled the process for more than one year.
“We have not abandoned plans to lease the five sugar mills. Legal hurdles have stopped us from appointing boards of these factories but we are looking at how we can have the present court cases negotiated before we proceed with the process,” said Munya.
Sugar Mills that are slotted for leasing
The 5 state-owned sugar milling factories that have been slotted for leasing to private investors include Nzoia Sugar Company, Chemelil Sugar Company, Miwani Sugar Company (in Receivership), Muhoroni Sugar Company (in Receivership) and South Nyanza Sugar Company.
While farmers stare at losses as the said factories waste away, observers blame politicians for sabotaging the process.
The lobby group Kenya Union of Sugar Plantations and Allied Workers (KUSPAW) filed a case in the courts, stopping the leasing out of these sugar mills and set conditions that must be met before the process can commence.
The Union argues that these state-owned mills must settle pending salaries owed to sugar farmers and that they must also be involved in the leasing exercise.
The Union, in court papers, is concerned that there is no clear plan to settle salaries owed to farmers.
The Union says while it has already presented its demands to the Ministry before it can formally withdraw the cases, its requests have been ignored.