KENYA – Government has announced plans to replace the out-of-date Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) factory with a new State-of-the-art plant.

Livestock Principal Secretary Prof Fred Segor confirmed Thursday that the process to select a contractor to establish the facility is almost complete.

He said the a contractor to spearhead construction of the new facility will be named in the next two weeks in what seems to be a change of an earlier plan to upgrade the current meat processing facility.

“We’ve realised that it’s cheap to construct a new plant instead of upgrading the current plant, which might be expensive owing to its obsolete technology. By end of this month, we will have appointed a contractor,” he explained.

Segor made the remarks during a media briefing to launch the Mifugo Ni Mali Extensive Livestock Expo 2015, to be held in November this year. Even though he declined to reveal how much the new plant will cost, Segor, however, disclosed that the project would be financed by Government and will be factored in the 2014/15 Budget.

The new processing unit, he said, is expected to be in place by December this year. Under the new project plan, Segor said, the existing plant will not be discarded, but some of its units, like the cold-rooms, among others would still be in use.

In the current financial year, Treasury had allocated Sh700 million to finance the turnaround plan for KMC that will initially involve the modernisation of the plant. Government had hoped to use Sh250 million as send-off package for the parastatal’s workers.

Segor stated that his ministry is waiting for a report on human skills audit by Kenya School of Government before undertaking restricting of the facility’s operations. The meat processor currently has 467 employees.

“Even though a number of employees will leave under the normal circumstances such as retirement, natural attrition, more will still be sent packing as part of the Government’s plan to restructure the debt-ridden meat processor,” he added.

The intention is to make the company lean and more efficient and thus be able to endure the cutthroat competition in the global meat market. In an earlier interview, Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei disclosed that the Government is mobilizing resources to revive cash strapped facility.

The institution has for years immersed in a financial crisis due to huge debt owed to its suppliers who have not been paid for years and outstanding payments to statutory deductions.

March 20, 2015;