Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has reiterated that Kshs 1 billion isn’t enough to fully stabilize Mumias Sugar Company. The Governor recalled how he informed the Jubilee administration that more money is needed “When they came around, the President brought 1 billion, and I said it was a drop in the ocean,” said Governor Oparanya, “Mumias needs Kshs 12 billion to be able to be on its feet.” He said the Kshs 12 billion will cover a debt of about Kshs 7 billion, while the remaining amount will be channelled to agricultural sector development. He said that farmers are no longer planting sugarcane and more money is needed toe ensure there is more cane. “Unless you motivate the farmers to plant sugarcane, you are doing nothing,” he said.
Governor Oparanya said since agriculture is devolved it has been his view that the factory should be handed over to the County government, “The percentage share owned by the national government should be transferred to the County government,” he said,”Because the County government is closer to the people and knows the daily problems of farmers in the region. As long as the shares are still with the national government, it’s not helpful at the moment.”
He also noted that the County government should also be given representation at the board level, “For us, we can’t help unless we have someone to give our views at the board level.” He said there was a time the County government gave funds to help the farmers but the matter was politicized, “That time the County government had planned to put in Kshs 500 million to cater for the debts of farmers, so that they become motivated to plant cane, but now they aren’t motivated because their payment is delayed,” he said.
Governor Oparanya said that restructuring is the key to reviving and stabilizing Mumias Sugar Company, “If the company is restructured, I know there are people and companies out there who are ready to invest in the company, including the County government,” he said, adding that with the Kshs 12 billion and adequate restructuring, there’ll be no problem whatsoever.
He further said the national government needs to realize it’s a regional problem, saying that leaders use the Company as a political gimmick tool, then when they are through with their votes hunting, they leave the region riddled with the same problem.