Elements of nature wrought massive damage to the Busia Sugar Industries’ (BSI) sugar factory brand new machineries because of the endless crippling legal battles that nearly brought its construction to a standstill.
This has since forced the company’s management to import from India engineering experts to come to the factory site to refurbish the rusted and some of the nearly decaying machines to perfection before the factory can be put into action.
A senior official of the company Engineer Mak’Onyango said: “These expensive machines were exposed to the elements of nature as they stayed moribund when the construction processes of the factory stopped for long periods of time as the company battled its detractors to get legal clearance to get moving.”
Onyango said the engineers from India were working around the clock to ensure that all the factory’s machines are in perfect working order before it roars into the long awaited action to process sugar.
He said a myriad other logistics in preparation to start milling were being streamlined so that everything is in tandem when the factory starts its operations in the next two months or less since the license was released to start operations.
The sugar firm’s operating license was released last month by the cabinet secretary for agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri following the intervention of the Deputy President William Ruto after an extensive tour of the factory complex at Busibwabo area in Busia County.
The agriculture cabinet secretary had to Mount Massive pressure on the BSI’s competitor behind the legal wars to withdraw yet another injunction he had filed through third parties at the high court seeking to have the virtually completed milling facility razed to the ground.
However, the DP warned that the jubilee administration is not to tolerate any investors who were viciously intolerant of healthy competition in a vibrant competitive economy.
Yesterday the BSI agriculture manager Mr. Ambrose Ochieng said: “This is a massive project which you cannot just say you are going to open the following day after getting the operating license from the government last month considering the hell we had gone through.”
Mr. Ochieng said that there were processes and many logistical activities that the company had to execute immediately to get into action. Apart from refurbishing the factory machinery, mobilizing the sugarcane harvesting, its transportation from the farms to the factory and above all the personnel to execute the activities.
“Therefore anybody who is beginning to query that we have delayed to start sugar production after we got license is ill informed and grinding axes of negative forces that nearly crippled this company from beginning operations,” he said adding that farmers and all stakeholders must be patient and ignore this propaganda that is making rounds concerning the opening of the factory.
Ochieng further confirmed that BSI had already acquired about 50 brand new tractors ready to start ferrying cane from the shambas to the factory for milling. He also called upon farmers to ensure that their cane is well maintained if they were to reap handsomely upon the beginning of crushing.
It has since emerged that the same competitor who was arm twisted by the government to withdraw his baseless suit at the eleventh hour as usual through heavily financed third parties has resorted to damaging negative propaganda.
A top Kenya Sugarcane Growers Association (KESGA) official Ibrahim Juma said: “We are acutely aware of the machinations from one of the BSI competitors compromising innocent but penniless people from in and outside the county to trigger and sustain damaging propaganda and tell him to stop immediately.”
Mr. Juma said healthy competition in the sugar industry was desperately wanted after the mess it had been reduced to over the last ten years, especially by competitors who were averse to competition but desperate for monopoly.