Kenya: Govt releases Sh150 million to pay salaries of Nzoia Sugar workers

Nzoia Sugar workers are pleased following the announcement that Sh150 million will be released by the government to pay their salary arrears. This payment is expected to be made within two weeks, as stated by President William Ruto during his recent county tour.

Speaking at an interdenominational event at Amutala Stadium in Kimilili, Bungoma County last Sunday, Ruto revealed that the allocation had been included in the supplementary budget. “After writing off the Sh53 billion debts Nzoia Sugar owed to farmers, suppliers, and creditors, we promised to secure additional funds for salary arrears. They will get paid in a week,” said Ruto.

He further noted, “Going forward, the government will not bail out a company that receives sugarcane from farmers, processes it, and sells sugar, only for the managers to pocket the proceeds and ask the government for more funds to pay farmers and employees.”

The President highlighted that Nzoia Sugar has faced issues of mismanagement and corruption for nearly 40 years. He added, “We have placed the sugar factory on a leasing program, and a new management will be installed to ensure profitability.”

Ruto stated that the new investor will ensure cane farmers receive annual bonuses, similar to those given to coffee and tea farmers. Nzoia Sugar boasts a total of 4,229.01 hectares and has over 67,000 contracted farmers. “Farmers within the Nzoia sugar belt will start earning bonuses. The factory has nucleus estates and must provide bonuses to farmers because those lands belong to the public,” Ruto emphasized.

Additionally, he announced the removal of obstacles hindering the revival of Mumias Sugar Company. “We have signed all the agreements with the investor, and the factory should resume full operations,” he said. Although Mumias Sugar was not included when the state wrote off Sh117 billion in accrued debts owed by sugar mills, efforts to revive the company had been stalled by court cases until President Ruto intervened.

Uganda’s Sarrai Group took over Mumias Sugar about two years ago. “From the agreement we signed with the investor, Mumias Sugar should resume full operations soon. The only agreement we haven’t signed is Co-gen,” Ruto stated.

Farmers interviewed in Bungoma and Kakamega counties have welcomed the government’s plans.


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