Western, Nyanza leaders oppose privatization of sugar companies
16 September 2015, 09:23
Nairobi - Western and Nyanza politicians have opposed the privatization of five sugar companies in the region.
Speaking during a meeting at Travellers Beach Hotel Mombasa Monday, Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma said they will not allow the process to go on until all stakeholders are involved in fresh consultations.
The five companies that have been earmarked for privatization are; Nzoia Sugar, South Nyanza Sugar Ltd (Sony Sugar), Chemilil Sugar Company, Muhoroni Sugar Company Ltd and Miwani Sugar Company Ltd.
Mumia Sugar Company, which has also been in the limelight over poor mismanagement, has already been privatized with the government retaining a 20 percent shareholding.
The Privatization Commission, which was given the mandate to initiate the privatization process, had a hard time convincing the leaders that privatizing the companies was indeed healthy.
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Governors Jack Ranguma (Kisumu), Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) together with senators Moses Wetangula (Bungoma), Anyang Nyong’o (Kisumu) and the region’s MPs opposed the process.
“This process started way before the County governments came into place. We need to engage in a reverse gear; we cannot move on until the devolved governments are involved,” said Ranguma.
Nyong’o said the Senate should be given time to look into the matter before they make their decision.
“We do not oppose privatization, but we want to be allowed some time to look into all this issue before we decide to move forward. At the same time, all stakeholders must be involved,” he said.
Governor Nderitu Gachagua said agriculture is a devolved function and all sugar companies fall under this docket.
Senator Wetang'ula said the national government should recognize the devolved governments.
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He said if there is need to privatize the companies, the national government should transfer the companies to the County government.
“We cannot conclude that because the national government was unable to run these companies because of corruption,” he said.
He said counties should be given an opportunity to run the companies.
“We were not consulted in this process and it should stop immediately and start afresh. You cannot talk about privatization of companies without consulting the citizens,” he said.
MPs Chris Wamalwa (Kimilili) and Jared Opiyo (Awendo) said the farmers in sugar-belt region should be involved in the privatization process.
Privatization Commission CEO, Solomon Kitungu said they had initially involved all the stakeholders, but will have to organize other stakeholders’ forums.
“We have agreed with the parliament to organize other meetings with farmers and other stakeholders. We are hoping it will not take us another five years,” he said.
Acting Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Adan Mohammed said the leaders should look for a way forward to revive the dying sugar sector.
“The debate about the national and county government will not end soon. We need to find a way forward on how to revive the sugar sector,” he told the leaders during the meeting.
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