What exactly did President Kenyatta give to Sony Sugar?
Standard newspaper calls the Ksh 447 as a ‘give way’ to offset farmers debts at South Nyanza Sugar Can Company (page 4). Elsewhere in the same page, they refers to it as among a ‘bagful of goodies’ given to the region.
However, in the same paper, deep in page 19, a curious story on ‘county round up’ reveals the money is a loan which farmers in the region will pay annually for the next 5 years.
On President Kenyatta’s Facebook page, here is the entry: ”My Government today released 1.1 billion shillings to clear all arrears owed to cane farmers in Nyanza region. I announced the funds release at the Sony Sugar Company grounds in Awendo when I presented the company with a KShs 447 Million cheque to clear arrears till June this year, all owed to cane farmers in Migori”.
On the Dennis Itumbi’s Facebook wall, here is the entry: [The President] wrote off Sugar debts worth 447m for Sony Sugar and said 1.1b available for cane farmers to be debt free.
You will notice that both the President and Itumbi are not revealing the nature of the Ksh 447 million given to Sony Sugar.
Daily Nation also does not say the ‘nature’ of the sh. 1.1 billion to which sh.447 was given to Sony.
The money, Ksh 447, was received from the Sugar Directorate (formerly Kenya Sugar Board) as a LOAN and will pay arrears owed to farmers for the last eight months.
One of the reasons why cane factories are not able to pay farmers is the losses they incur due to dumping of cheap sugar in the country.
Yesterday, I listed such ”sugar companies” as Tuskys Sugar Millers, Naivas Sugar Company, Ukwala etc to narrate the problem of dumping.
Recently, the national security intelligence, NIS, which reports directly to the President, ‘admitted’ that they did not know who dumps ‘cheap sugar’ in Kenya.
At least, they know which supermarkets pack it.
More importantly though, if the money advanced to sugar factories in Nyanza and Western are just but loans, how does it become a ‘goodie’ from the President, and, or, the national government? How do you ‘write off’ a debt with a ‘loan’ and claim that is ‘development’?
Even more egregious, why the different treatment extended to Kenyan farmers – coffee on one hand and cane on the other? Could the devil be in the region? Or, is this a continuation of ‘starving Nyanza’ to make us ‘government-of-the-day complaint?
Since 2005, the government has been writing off debts owed to coffee farmers but not with loans.
“My Government today released 1.1 billion shillings to clear all arrears owed to cane farmers in Nyanza region. I announced the funds release at the Sony Sugar Company grounds in Awendo when I presented the company with a KShs 447 Million cheque to clear arrears till June this year, all owed to cane farmers in Migori. Muhoroni and Chemilil sugar cane farmers will also benefit from the KShs 1.1 billion. Payments to cane farmers should be prioritized before other expenditures. I called on the companies to restructure their operations and diversify their production. We have also given out subsidized fertilizer and formulated a programme under which all farmers can access farm inputs”. – President Uhuru Kenyatta.