- At least Sh250 million owed to livestock farmers cleared with another Sh150 million in the pipeline
- CS Matiang'i defends the government's move to transfer KMT to the Ministry of Defence
The Kenya Meat Commission has met the bulk of debts owed to livestock farmers and other suppliers since the military takeover, according to Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i.
He said the management handover of the loss-making parastatal to the the Kenya Defence Forces had also led to a nearly 30 per cent increase in the number of livestock supplied to the Athi River-based meat processor.
This he said, was because farmers and other suppliers were motivated by faster payments for deliveries.
"Through the government transfer of KMC to the Ministry of Defence, we have managed to clear Sh250 million debt owed to livestock farmers. A further Sh 150 million has been allocated to clear debts to other general suppliers in this financial year,'' Matiang’i said.
The CS who chairs the Cabinet committee that coordinates national government development projects defended the transfer of KMC to KDF.
He said it as a logical and necessary move informed by the mutual interests of the two organisations and those of livestock farmers and the country in general.
"As its largest client, the military had a natural stake in seeing that the KMC was efficiently managed while the meat processor stood to benefit from a guaranteed market,'' Matiang’i said.
He was speaking during the first of the six planned virtual public lectures on the opportunities and challenges facing the livestock and other sectors under the Big Four agenda that was organised by the President’s Delivery Unit and the Strathmore Business School.
President Kenyatta’s directive on the handover of KMC to the military in September drew criticism and questions on the legality of the move but Matiang’i dismissed this as an unhealthy obsession with processes at the expense of results.
He said under the military watch, KMC has put an end to the recurrent practice of sinking public funds to keep it afloat.
“We have lost opportunities to develop KMC under the frameworks we had. We kept sinking money in billions. It is because of incompetence, poor management and corruption that the parastatal could not move,'' Matiang'i said.
He said the government is keen to position KMC as the main meat supplier to public institutions such as prisons and learning institutions to boost its client base and to promote demand for its services while also eyeing the foreign market.
The Cs said the government is planning to invest more in livestock to create jobs and revenue opportunities for a sector that currently contributes 12 per cent to the GDP and employs half of the agriculture labour force.
Among the investments planned are in the leather industry to exploit abundant hides and skins and in zoning facilities to guarantee quality for meat and other livestock products targeted for exports.