Mumias Sugar almost grinding to a halt

KENYA – The once-vibrant Mumias Sugar Company might grind to a halt in a matter of days unless the State acts fast to inject the much-needed capital to sustain its operations.

The whole of last week, the miller opened only twice as it struggled with faulty mechanical parts that require urgent fixing, which is hampered by lack of funds.

For the past couple of months, the factory has been characterised by numerous stoppages that have seen it operate at an average of three days a week.

“The company is struggling and we are always on and off every week. I cannot put the situation any better,” said Managing Director Coutts Otolo.

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PART OF THE RESCUE PLAN

When the government — which has a 20 per cent stake in Mumias — agreed to bail out the firm in January, it promised to release Sh500 million immediately as part of the rescue plan for the company to meet its financial obligations.

Three months down the line, the State is yet to release the funds.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Sicily Kariuki said release of funds has been delayed until a time when the miller would have met the terms of bailout that were issued by lenders.

MSC wrote to the Treasury two weeks ago informing it that it has met all the terms but the ministry is yet to release the funds.

“We are yet to get a response from the Treasury over the matter,” said Mr Otolo.

June 8, 2015; http://www.nation.co.ke/business/Mumias-Sugar-Mill-Factory-Stoppages/-/996/2744542/-/13jumvoz/-/index.html

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