Farmers, stakeholders rejected privatization of sugar companies, says CS Wamalwa

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Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa
Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa

Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa has said farmers and stakeholders in the sugar sector rejected the idea of privatization of sugar companies. Speaking during an interview on West FM on Sunday night, CS Wamalwa said when the taskforce formed last year to look into issues affecting the sugar industry collected views, the idea was frowned upon.

He said the option of the government injecting money in the companies also wasn’t viable, “I was in the Kibaki government and a lot of money was availed to the companies but they weren’t revived,” he said. He said the way of handling the companies had to be different, and that’s why they opted for leasing of the companies.

He pointed out that one of the main stumbling blocks has been debt, with the sugar companies accruing heavy debts throughout the years. The move by the government to waive all debts, Kshs 62 billion, was an idea fronted by farmers, stakeholders. “Because of debts, no investor would be attracted to the companies,” he noted.

He further said the problem plaguing the region’s sugar sector is akin to economic terrorism, with loose regulations allowing unscrupulous people to take advantage and bring down the sector as a result. The government has announced new regulations set to boost the revival of the sector going forward, including the waiving of debts, suspending importation of brown sugar among others.