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No plans to privatise millers, says Ruto

Monday, October 9th, 2023 04:00 | By
No plans to privatise millers, says Ruto
President William Ruto and Migori Governor Ochillo Ayacko at a church function in Uriri Technical Training Institute in the county, yesterday. PHOTO/Kepher Otieno

The government has no plans to privatise public sugar factories, President William Ruto said yesterday.

The Head of State has instead noted that the millers will be leased out as the government seeks to revive the sector.

Ruto, speaking during a church service in Uriri in Migori, announced that the mills will be leased to people who are expected to work under terms and conditions agreed upon. This, he said was part of his administration’s plan to ensure the sugar sector gets back to its feet and spur economic growth.

Ruto explained that part of the agreement will see old machines in the factories replaced with new ones to ensure they operate efficiently.

The President, while promising to rid the sector off ‘cartels’, emphasised that the companies approved to take over the mills on the lease agreement will be required to ensure efficient management to benefit farmers and entire citizenry.

 As such, Ruto said the companies will be expected to pay farmers on time and see that they don’t accrue further debts.

“In the debt write off plan, the Cabinet resolved that we will pay the farmers thereafter we are going to advertise so that we establish a leasing programme. This implies there will be no privatisation,” Ruto said.

He said in the next two to three weeks, the government will provide a clear direction on how the sugar factories will be revived under new proper management.

“We will ensure that whoever will lease these facilities, we have to agree on how we are going to have a new mill that is going to serve us better and efficiently. Farmers must be paid on time and we eliminate the challenges that we have had in the past,” Ruto added.

Head of State reiterated that those behind the sugar factories woes will not go scot-free.

“The culture of the government using taxpayers’ money to bail out farmers after supplying their produce must stop forthwith. We will not continue to put public money in a hole where farmers have given their produce, it is processed and sold yet they are not paid,”

Own sugar

He assured that payment of Sh1.7 billion owed to cane farmers will be made by December.

Further, Ruto reiterated the government’s commitment to revive the sugar industry, saying a lot of money goes on importing sugar yet the country has the capacity to produce its own sugar through sugarcane farming.

President Ruto, who was on his third day working tour of Nyanza region, assured of his government’s plans to ensure that every part of the country to gets equal development regardless of any political affiliations.

On education, the President pledged to transform technical colleges as part of the wider plan to boost skills delivery and improving on the human resource.

He said the government had already employed additional 3,000 trainers across various technical training institutes.

Similarly, Ruto said plans were underway to equip 70 technical training centres with state-of-the-art equipment.

“We want to build a strong human capital so that we can use the young people and experts in our education to transform the economy of the country,” he added.

The President was accompanied by Migori Governor Ochillo Ayacko, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu, Uriri MP Mark Nyamita and a host of other leaders.

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