KENYA: Opposition to privatisation grows

Published: 04/02/2018, 3:45:19 PM

Privatisation of government owned millers is in doubt after farmers and political leaders opposed the sale of three of the five factories, according to Kenya's Business Daily Africa.

Planters in Sony, Nzoia and Chemilil sugar zones have opposed the sale, demanding they get shares through respective county governments.

This could be a blow to the Privatisation Commission, which is rushing to sell the five millers ahead of conclusion of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) safeguards in February.

"So far Kisumu County has agreed to the sale of Miwani but there has been opposition in Nzoia, Sony and Chemelil," said Henry Obwocha, the chairman of the Privatisation Commission.

Obwocha says the commission will now start with Miwani as they try to settle emerging issues of the other factories.

"We did not want to sell all the factories at the same time as that would be hectic. We want to do it in bits," he said in an interview. This implies the commission will in the meantime only be able to sell highly indebted factories that are not active in production such as Miwani (which owes creditors KES28 billion [US$278.1 million]) and Muhoroni (KES27 billion) and are in receivership.

The Commission said last week that it will re-evaluate the assets of the five millers following calls by stakeholders for fresh audit.