Fresh produce and processed products suppliers say supermarkets owe them an estimated Sh40 billion, straining their cash flows and even pushing some to bankruptcy.
The Association of Kenya Suppliers chairman Kimani Rugendo told a members’ forum Wednesday that Small and Medium Enterprises were being driven out of business as payments delayed for up to several years while deliveries continued uninterrupted.
He claimed supermarkets were using suppliers’ funds to finance the expansion across Kenya and into the East African region creating anxiety among suppliers who risk incurring heavy losses if the chains close suddenly.
This, he said, called for more information from the chains on mitigative measures put in place to address such closures.
“You owe us Sh40 billion that could have been used to expand our businesses, employ more Kenyans and make our goods more competitive locally as well as abroad. But the delay has forced us to scale down operations and seek overdrafts which we in turn pass over to consumers,” he said.