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Mumias staff want new investors to pay Sh2bn salaries

mumias

Mumias sugar company. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Employees at the troubled Mumias Sugar Company want investors who will win the leasing bid to factor in their Sh2 billion arrears that the collapsed miller owes them.
  • Reacting to recent proposal by a Kakamega businessman on how money will be apportioned in different departments at the miller, the employees say it is regrettable that there was no allocation on their arrears.
  • Chairman of the Mumias Workers Union Patrick Mutimba has urged the investors to also budget for how the employees will be paid their arrears, pointing out that they will also play a key role in the revival of the company.

Employees at the troubled Mumias Sugar Company want investors who will win the leasing bid to factor in their Sh2 billion arrears that the collapsed miller owes them.

Reacting to recent proposal by a Kakamega businessman on how money will be apportioned in different departments at the miller, the employees say it is regrettable that there was no allocation on their arrears.

Chairman of the Mumias Workers Union Patrick Mutimba has urged the investors to also budget for how the employees will be paid their arrears, pointing out that they will also play a key role in the revival of the company.

“There seem to be no plans in addressing our Sh2 billion arrears that has accumulated over the years. As potential investors prepare to lease Mumias, they should factor in how our outstanding salaries will be cleared,” said Mr Mutimba.

Businessman Julius Mwale, who placed the highest bid of Sh27 billion in leasing of Mumias last week gave a breakdown of how his firm Tumaz and Tumaz will allocate the funds in some of the departments, but conspicuously missing was the arrears of employees.

For instance, Mr Mwale has proposed to allocate Sh2.5 billion to growers in a bid to woo them back into farming after they abandoned cane farming due to non-payment by the miller.

The entrepreneur has also allocated funds for reviving the stalled ethanol plant, cogeneration and a water bottling plant with an allocation of Sh2 billion, Sh864 million and Sh216 million respectively.

The employees are also blaming the receiver manager for not factoring in their arrears for the period that the firm has been in receivership.

Mr Mutimba said despite the fact that the miller has been generating some income from ethanol before the plant was shut early in the year, they never got anything from them.

He also faulted the Sh1.5 billion that President Uhuru Kenyatta has allocated to sugar sector saying that it will not do much to help the ailing industry, terming it as a drop in the ocean.

Mr Kenyatta gave Sh1.5 billion to sugar sector as part of a stimulus package aimed at helping the sector to overcome the effects of Covid-19.

Mumias was in September 2019 placed under receivership by KCB Group to protect its assets and maintain its operations. The lender has been barred from auctioning the plant to secure assets used as security for other loans, prompting it to turn to the lease option.