Audit and pay millers for maize flour subsidy


Maize in sacks near Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County after drying on January 23, 2023. FILE PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG

It is a shame that the government appears reluctant to honour its side of the bargain regarding last year's maize flour subsidy programme under which private firms stepped forward to help keep the prices of the staple low.

Parliament has blamed millers for supplying maize flour past the contract period, further complicating the Sh2.9 billion that the processors say they are owed by the government.

The subsidy programme, which was announced by former President Uhuru Kenyatta on July 20, 2022, was initially to run for an indefinite period.

The Ministry of Agriculture and the Treasury have the data to audit and establish legitimate claims that should be paid to the businesses for the subsidised flour they sold last year.

The government might in future need the private sector to bail the country out under a similar arrangement. But with the back and forth we have witnessed over the payments of pending bills, businesses will hesitate to take part.

Refusing to pay the millers their dues will also hurt many more people, as they employ thousands of Kenyans directly and others like farmers and distributors indirectly.