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Economy

KMC roles shift to Defence ministry in rescue plan

Steers are moved using a forklift at the Kenya Meat Commission
Steers are moved using a forklift at the Kenya Meat Commission's (KMC) Athi River plant in Machakos on April 4, 2017. PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA | NMG? 

President Uhuru Kenyatta has moved the ministerial roles of the ailing Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) to the Ministry of Defence in a bid to breathe new life to the cash-strapped State-owned firm.

The change effected through an executive order is aimed at boosting sales of meat, especially to the disciplined forces, banking on the strength of numbers in the military and the direct budget that will be under the Defence department, eliminating delays on payments.

The Ministry of Agriculture has directed Livestock Principal Secretary (PS) Harry Kimtai to act on the presidential executive order and ensure the roles are moved to Defence.

Mr Kimtai said the transfer of functions, which shocked Kenyans, is a normal government reorganisation and pointed out that it will give the parastatal more business given that it will increase quantities of meat sold to disciplined forces.

“The move will mean more business for KMC and quick payment on supplies given that the defence will have a ready budget to make payments,” said Mr Kimtai.

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There have been complaints from the management of KMC that the disciplined forces have been shying from buying meat from the agency instead opting to procure from private abattoirs.

The PS said KMC has in recent days received more orders for meat from the Department of Defence and that the new directive will scale up purchases.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya directed Mr Kimtai to coordinate the exercise with the National Treasury and transfer the associated budgets in the next schedule of the supplementary budget.

The government said last year that it would not pump more money into a loss- making KMC, pointing out that the process of selling it had started, with the formation of a taskforce to come up with a plan for privatisation.

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