NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 – President Mwai Kibaki has reiterated the government’s commitment to transform the sugar industry in Western Kenya through privatisation, to relieve the industry of its current debt of over Sh47 billion.
The president has directed the Ministry of Finance in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture to expedite the privatisation process and ensure there is adequate participation of farmers.
He said the country has faced stiff opposition from other countries, but the government has managed to maintain the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) safeguards, which Kenya applied for in 2003 to protect it from international competition.
He announced that as the safeguards come to an end in February 2014, the sugar industries in the country will be efficient enough to compete globally.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Minister for Public Service Dalmas Otieno at the official opening of the Kisumu regional show, the president announced that his government has introduced private sector participation in the industry by licensing new factories.
He revealed that the other four government-owned factories have been revived and moved from making losses to saving over Sh1.4 billion.
President Kibaki confirmed that the government will continue to support the industry to realize domestic sugar self sufficiency and to make the industry more competitive regionally and globally.