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Mumias seeks Sh3bn fresh taxpayers bailout

President Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, tour Mumias Sugar plant in 2014. FILE PHOTO | NMG
President Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, tour Mumias Sugar plant in 2014. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Taxpayers are once again set to shoulder the burden of bailing out the ailing Mumias Sugar Company #ticker:MSC after the firm’s management revealed that it is in negotiations with government for a fresh Sh3.14 billion package.

The funds will be released to the miller in three tranches, with the first amount expected to be wired by the end of next month after the ongoing maintenance of the factory is completed.

Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali revealed details of the fresh bailout Tuesday after holding a meeting with the sugar miller’s chairman, Kennedy Mulwa.

“The negotiations are in the final stages. The plan is to release the money in three phases in the ongoing efforts to turn around the fortunes of the miller,” said Mr Washiali.

Mumias Sugar has in the last two years received a total of Sh3.1 billion from the Treasury, as part of government efforts to revive operations and steer the miller back to profitability.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, delivered the Sh1 billion cheque during a tour of the factory in 2014 to help resuscitate the financially troubled sugar miller.

The second tranche of Sh2.6 billion was given to the miller between June 2015 and April 2016 to pay arrears owed to farmers and rehabilitate the milling machines.

Mumias has spent the funds without any major visible turnaround results, according to its financial results.

The listed firm reported a half-year net loss of Sh2.92 billion in the period to December 2016.

Mr Mulwa confirmed the bailout talks, adding that the company was in the process of recruiting a new chief executive to replace Errol Johnston who threw in the towel recently.

“Our plan it to recruit a CEO who will be able to win back the confidence of farmers and ensure we have adequate raw material in the catchment to sustain our operations,” said Mr Mulwa.

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