Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has directed Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai to facilitate the transfer of Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) to the Ministry of Defence following an order by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The cash-strapped State firm will now be run by the military in a move aimed at boosting its operations and ensuring survival.
“Following the transfer of ministerial responsibility of the Kenya Meat Commission to the Ministry of Defence by the President, you are directed to facilitate a seamless transfer of Kenya Meat Commission to the Ministry of Defence,” he said in a memo dated September 7.
The government-owned meat processor is operating below capacity and is grappling with an unreliable supply of raw material and an ageing plant, which has slowed down its operations.
The memo to the PS was also copied to KMC Managing Commissioner James Ole Seriani while directing him to submit a report to him in 14 days on progress made.
“Ensure that you coordinate the entire exercise with the National Treasury and transfer the associated budgets at the next scheduled supplementary budgets,” the memo added.?
Operates below capacity
The Athi River-based plant slaughters 200 cattle per week, despite it having the capacity to process the same number of animals per day.
In June, the government said it would inject Sh80 million into upgrading the KMC factory in the next financial year even as it planned to sell it to a strategic investor.
This was the second year in a row that the Treasury had allocated the amount?for refurbishment of the Athi River-based meat processor.
The State Department for Livestock spent Sh80 million out of Sh190 million that parliament had allocated last financial year on the factory upgrade.
The government had previously announced that it would commence the process of selling KMC following the formation of a task force to come up with a privatisation plan.
KMC is among 26 parastatals earmarked for sale to strategic investors by the Privatisation Commission.
The State reckons that privatisation will make it economically viable and boost export of Kenya's animal products.
In 2016, the government allocated Sh650 million for laying off KMC staff and upgrading its abattoir.