Government told to save mills

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The sugar industry will suffer a great blow if the five state owned sugar mills in the country abruptly stop operations before the planned privatization.

Receiver manger for Muhoroni/Miwani sugar factories Eng Francis Ooko says there is need to keep on maintaining the factories to crush as the process to find a strategic investor is sought.

Ooko says there is a chain of people in the sugar industry that will be adversely affected if the factories close shop.

Currently, Chemelil and Sony are on their knees as the factories stopped crushing some months back.

Ooko says farmers will be hardly hit noting that should the five mills cease operating then the surplus of cane will outweigh the private sugar mills.

Ooko says the government should not focus more on privatization while the mills are dying slowly.

He says despite in receivership, Muhoroni and Miwani has strived to pay workers and farmers more promptly.

The manager says contracted farmers, suppliers and others heavily rely on the mills and should not be left on their own.

He says privatization is a long process and will not be done overnight but during the negotiations; farmers should not be abandoned by closing the mills.  

Ooko says privatization process includes international tendering, evaluation, award and period for petition of the award.

Last month, when a parliamentary committee on Labour and Social Welfare visited Chemelil Sugar Factory, the management made an appeal to the government for a bailout of Sh. 258 million to save the factory from being insolvent.

The Company head of finance Emanuel Ngala said the company is currently facing liquidity challenges that if not addressed on time will lead to the collapse of the factory.

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