Sugarbelt MPs petition Uhuru to allow Sh2.6bn farmers’ payment

January 30, 2019 4:55 pm
The MPs said it is unfortunate that the sugarcane sector has for years encountered perennial problems that have crippled the industry/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – Legislators from sugarcane-growing regions are now appealing to President Uhuru Kenyatta to rescind a directive he gave barring the Treasury from paying sugarcane farmers Sh2.6 billion arrears until Parliament approves the Supplementary Budget.

MPs Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo), Dan Wanyama (Webuye West) and Justus Murunga (Matungu) said it is unfortunate that the sugarcane sector has for years encountered perennial problems that have crippled the industry.

Wangwe, who is also the vice-chairperson of the Agriculture Committee of the National Assembly, noted that both the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act and the Constitution allow Treasury to incur expenditure while Parliament is on recess and then seek approval when it resumes.

MPs are expected to resume their sittings on February 12 from their long recess which began mid last month.

“Our issue today is to ask the President, kindly with all the humility you deserve, that you rescind the directive you gave while in Koru, that we will only be paid once the Supplementary Budget goes through Parliament. Our people are crying they have nothing to lean on; their children cannot go to school and they are sitting at home.”

“Please Mr President rescind your decision and let the CS for National Treasury pay the money now so that our farmers can take their children to school,” Wangwe told a news conference.

He said over 200 students in his constituency are unable to report to school because their parents cannot afford to pay school fees.

Wanyama said a list of all the farmers who have not been paid had been finalized by the both the Treasury and the Ministry of Agriculture and are now waiting for the payments to be made.

“The Cabinet Secretary, Mr (Henry) Rotich had confirmed that within a week – because of the issues of IFMIS – the fund will be in the accounts of the farmers, until he got a second directive from the President. We are saying that is unfair, if this crisis was elsewhere because we have seen it with coffee, we have seen it with the tea sector and those farmers have been sorted out,” said the Webuye West legislator.

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