Senator Khalwale Dismisses President Ruto’s Privatization Plan

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Kakamega Senator has warned President William Ruto against proceeding with his move to privatize state parastatals saying such a move will only impoverish Kenyans, especially those around the sugar belt.

Speaking in Malava constituency during Farouk Kibet’s thanksgiving ceremony on Saturday, Senator Khalwale said the residents of Kakamega cannot give up their ancestral land on which Mumias and Nzoia sugar companies are built.

”Last week you said state parastatals will be privatized. In those companies, we have our sugar companies, Nzoia sugar company and Mumias sugar company. I beg you as a Luhya leader. Our grandfathers gave 12,500 acres to the Mumias sugar company and then 24,500 acres to the Nzoia sugar company,” Senator Khalwale said.

”If you privatize, somebody will go away with ancestral land. We cannot support the privatization of Nzoia sugar company and Mumias sugar company. We cannot, and this is not out of disrespect to the president or the government.”

Senator Khalwale noted that if President William Ruto is indeed keen on reviving the industry he should stop the importation of cheap sugar, which is the real problem killing the sugar sector.

Last week, the Cabinet approved the Privatization Bill 2023, a state-sponsored bill that seeks to sell Govt-owned entities to the private sector without Parliamentary approval. The Treasury will have the power to sell non-strategic parastatals without legal and policy bottlenecks.

Ruto government hopes that the new law will allow the private sector to contribute to the economy by owning shares in the entities and reduce the demand for government resources plus the reliance on government financing by the parastatals.

The Bill gives power to the National Treasury to identify and determine which public enterprises will be privatized, without any approval from Parliament.

Some of the corporations earmarked for privatization are Chemelil Sugar, South Nyanza Sugar, Kabarnet Hotel, Mt Elgon Lodge, Golf Hotel, Nzoia Sugar, Mumias Sugar, Miwani Sugar, Sunset Hotel Kisumu, Kenya Safari Lodges and Hotels, Consolidated Bank, Development Bank of Kenya, Agro-Chemical and Food Company, Kenya Wine Agencies, Kenya Meat Commission, and public universities.

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