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Mumias Sugar releases 30pc salary advance

Mumias Sugar workers
Mumias Sugar workers at the ethanol plant. Employees have not received pay for three months as the miller grapples with financial woes. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Workers of the ailing Mumias Sugar Company #ticker:MSC have at last received a salary advance after going without pay for three months.

The developments at the struggling miller come in the wake of reports indicating that a key meeting involving the Treasury officials, Agriculture Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and the Mumias Sugar Company board members has been planned for next Monday.

"The management had promised to generate some revenue and pay salary advances to the staff who had been patiently waiting despite the sacrifices they have been making to keep ethanol production going," said an official who requested not be named because he is not authorised to divulge details on company operations to the media.

Workers who spoke to the Business Daily said the last time they received a salary advance after the miller resumed ethanol production was three months ago.

The employees said they were happy after receiving the payment, which would enable them settle debts and pay school fees for their children.

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Workers at the factory said they received 30 percent of their net pay on Monday with the lowest earners receiving about Sh10,000.

Ethanol production

The miller is currently generating some revenue from ethanol production after a shortage of sugar cane crippled its operations. Disconnection of power to the factory over unpaid bills amounting to Sh1.18 billion also worsened the situation.

The miller has switched to use of generators for ethanol production while management officials are reported to be negotiating with Kenya Power to reconnect the electricity.

The miller is currently using generators for power supply but because of the cost involved, they are being switched on for two to three hours a day to save on fuel cost.

The management of the sugar factory have been focusing on ethanol production with hope of generating adequate revenue to at least jump start sugar milling.

The miller has gone through an unpredictable and bumpy patch for the past one year as it grapples with the financial woes that have slowed down efforts to revive operations at the factory.

Workers at the factory have in the past said they were demoralised by the problems bedevilling the miller.

"For us, it is a wait-and-see situation. It is so frustrating and we no longer care what happens next since it's all looking pretty gloomy," said a worker.

The board chairman Kenneth Ngumbao Mulwa and acting chief executive Isaac Sheunda had not responded to our phone calls by the time of going to press on developments at the struggling miller.

Mr Mulwa had earlier sent a text message promising to call back after the Business Daily contacted him requesting an interview on developments at the country's former leading sugar miller.

"I will call you back," said a message sent by Mr Mulwa but he did not get in touch as promised.

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