Government announces Sh1.7bn boost for ailing sugar sector

Nzoia Sugar Company

The main gate at Nzoia Sugar Company in Kanduyi constituency Bungoma County.

Photo credit: Brian Ojamaa | Nation Media Group

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula has unveiled a revival plan for the ailing sugar sector, saying MPs have approved Sh1.7 billion through a supplementary budget to support the industry.

He said the move would strengthen President William Ruto's resolve to breathe life into the ailing sector.

Mr Wetang'ula said of the Sh1.7 billion, at least Sh300 million would be disbursed to Nzoia Sugar Factory, dismissing claims that there were plans to sell the industry.

 He announced that Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi would visit the factory to hand over the money.

 "Out of the Sh300 million, Sh250 million will be used to settle debts owed to farmers and the remaining Sh50 million will be used to pay outstanding workers' salaries," he said.

Speaking during the funeral service of Antony Maloba in Mukhweya village, Kabuchai constituency, Bungoma County, Mr Wetang'ula accused some leaders of being used by his political opponents to spread propaganda about the mill.

He lashed out at former cabinet secretary Eugine Wamalwa and former Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi for using the miller's plight to revive what he called 'dead political careers'.

"I want to tell Wamalwa and Wamunyinyi that their campaigns to use Nzoia Sugar Company to resurrect their political careers are doomed to fail, Nzoia is not a resurrection garden," said Mr Wetang'ula.

The Speaker noted that he was happy that the sugar factory was on the road to recovery as it was already crushing cane among other production activities.

"The good news is that Nzoia Sugar Factory has resumed milling activities and farmers will be paid their dues two weeks after delivery of the cane," he pointed out.

He urged farmers to take advantage of the government's revival plans to grow cane and support the factory to achieve full milling capacity.

He said he would accompany CS Linturi when the CS tours the factory to deliver the money and explain to farmers the revival plans the ministry has put in place to restore the factory's lost glory.

Mr Wetangula also announced that he had planned a meeting between Bungoma leaders and President Ruto later this week to follow up on the status of projects the Head of State promised residents during his visit to the county.

He noted that the National Assembly is committed to supporting plans to revive the country's ailing sugar factories.

He said the majority of farmers, especially those in the Western region, had suffered as a result of the collapse of the factories, noting that the government would come to their rescue by reviving the mills.

The Speaker indicated that the National Assembly would ensure that funds allocated for the revival of the factories are utilised for the purpose.