- He alleged that recently the Controller of Budget did a biased report that governors only spend on recurrent expenditure.
- Governor Anyang' Nyong'o in a joint statement to the press said it was unfortunate that funds have not been disbursed.
The 11th Lake Region Economic Bloc summit which brought together 14 counties has urged the national government to disburse funds to the devolved units to enable smooth operations.
The summit started on Tuesday and ended on Thursday in Migori town.
LREB chairman and Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o in a joint statement to the press said it was unfortunate that funds have not been disbursed.
"This issue is not only about counties in the bloc but we are pushing through as Council of Governors to have it streamlined according to the constitution," Nyong'o said.
He alleged that recently the Controller of Budget did a biased report that governors only spend on recurrent expenditure while funds are still locked by the national government.
"We can't spend on development, this has seen governors grappling with added pending bills to already existing ones," Nyong'o said.
"We want to make it very clear that as governors we must have the means to perform our constitutional mandate and yes we can use our locally raised revenue well but that is not enough," he said.
Also during the summit Kawira Bucyana, a researcher and the country director of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) said the future of the sugarcane sector lies in the hands of Kenyans and leadership.
Bucyana was the keynote speaker on the first day of the summit.
She said the industry is fuelled by 250,000 small-scale farmers in the country and directly and indirectly fuels the socioeconomic livelihood of six million Kenyans.
“When sugar was first introduced in 1902 and the first commercial industry in Miwani was created in 1922 the country has been a sugar exporter until recently,” she said.
She said the importation of sugar and the decline of the sector happened when productivity dropped from 66 tonnes of sugarcane per hectare in 2015 to 55 tonnes per hectare in 2018.
Globally the average production of sugarcane per hectare is 66 tonnes, showing that at one point the country was able to meet global standards.
“This has been caused by long maturing sugarcane that takes up to two years compared to other countries in the region and relying on rain-fed agriculture and poor seedlings,” she said.
She also said most sugarcane farmers grapple with delayed payment and high cost of production.
“Most milling firms have poor management and still use ineffective, outdated and obsolete machines while many importers get unrealistic profit margins from selling imported sugar compared to these millers,” Bucyana said.
Nyong’o alleged that importers in the country have vested interests and have been controlling the sector like cartels.
He called on the government to implement a sugar report by former Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri and ex-Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya.
Nyong’o said the 300,000 tonnes currently imported by Kenya can be produced locally and even leave a surplus for export.
“Government is ineffective in running mills and they should be leased to private firms, this should be urgent and managed quickly,” Nyong’o said.
He said the report should not be “gathering dust, during my tenure as LREB chair and I shall proceed to ensure it is implemented.”
Migori Governor Ochillo Ayacko said it was sad that importers are repacking sugar and flooding the market which has seen some registered millers turn into importers or poaching of sugarcane from rival areas
(Edited by Tabnacha O)