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The Kenya sugar industry is largely state-owned with the government controlling upwards of 51 per cent stake in major mills.

However experts are now calling on the government to consider privatization of the mills to save the livelihoods of over 5 million people who depend on the mills.

According to June Kago, a Senior Manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), Kenya’s Local sugar companies cannot compete with their rivals in their current state and especially with the impending end to sugar import quotas from COMESA (which the country has been surviving on for more than a decade).

‘’Privatization is the way to go to avoid the looming collapse of Kenya’s sugar industry. Strategic investors will come with much needed financial, management, technical and operational expertise.’’ She says.

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Adding that, ‘’as a precursor to the sale process, the Privatization Commission will need to engage reputable consultants to assist them in the privatization process in areas such as providing privatization strategy option analysis, due diligence (financial, tax, legal, human resource etc.), valuation, bid management, agreement preparation, structuring the offer, assistance in negotiation with selected bidders.’’

Kenya’s sugar industry has been marred with controversy from claims, of millers importing sugar and re-packaging as their own to farmers unpaid dues.

Only recently, at least 178,000 metric tonnes of bulk brown sugar were sold against Kenya Bureau of Standards recommendations. This was amid claims that the sugar was sold at the port of Mombasa before being refined and hence not fit for human consumption and could have exposed millions of Kenyans harmful chemicals.

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