alexa Cabinet warns millers not to hoard maize as drought bites - Daily Nation

Cabinet warns millers not to hoard maize as drought bites

Thursday April 18 2019

Maize flour prices

Nairobi County Chief Inspector Albert Osoro checks prices of 2kg packets of maize flour at Eastmatt Supermarket, in the city centre on October 11, 2018. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

KENNEDY KIMANTHI
By KENNEDY KIMANTHI
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The government has warned millers against hoarding maize, saying, it will take “stern actions” on those who defy the directive.

The warning contained in a dispatch from State House sent after a Cabinet meeting Thursday cautions that millers should not take advantage of the ongoing drought to increase prices of maize flour.

This directive is bound to elicit mixed reactions as millers have already set the stage for an increase in unga prices.

SHORTAGE

Last week, the government cited hoarding of maize for the price jump, arguing, the country has enough grains after a bumper harvest last year. But millers say the stock is far much less than claimed.

Unga Limited has already raised maize flour prices by Sh9 per packet following “shortage of grains”. A two-kilo packet of Jogoo will retail at Sh110, having shot up from Sh101.

The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), which is currently buying two million bags of maize, says farmers have stopped selling to it. The board  added that only 417,000 bags of maize have been delivered to its stores, way below its target.

Therefore, when millers start complaining over supplies, farmers and traders hoard their stock, creating an artificial shortage that eventually distorts the market in their favour. This could be the reason behind the government’s directive on Thursday.

At the meeting President Kenyatta chaired yesterday, the Cabinet gave assurance that the government will take all necessary measures to ensure prices of basic food commodities remain stable.

To further mitigate the drought situation, the Cabinet urged pastoral communities to start destocking while their animals are still in good condition.

MISUSE

The Cabinet noted that the drought situation in counties like Turkana, Mandera, Garissa, Marsabit and Wajir had worsened from the Alert Stage to the Alarm Stage but assured that the government has the situation under control.

A committee to coordinate drought response has been formed and will be charged with putting into place mitigation measures for the remaining part of the year.

The Cabinet meeting discussed and approved the Data Protection Policy and Law, which enhances the government’s commitment to protect personal data in order to guard against misuse and eliminate unwarranted invasion of privacy.

The Data Policy Protection Policy and Law will ensure that the information provided by Kenyans and foreign registered residents in the country during the ongoing Huduma Namba drive is protected.

Also approved at today’s meeting were the Kenya Investment Policy (KIP), and the development of the Mombasa and Naivasha Special Economic Zones.

The KIP seeks to consolidate the fragmented investment related policy by creating a framework that establishes a strong coordinating mechanism in the country.

It is guided by seven core principles that emphasise the need for openness and transparency, inclusivity, sustainable development, economic diversification, domestic empowerment, global integration and investor centredness.

COHERENCE

KIP also addresses private investment at the national and county levels to ensure seamless promotion and facilitation, policy and regulatory coherence.

Under the development of the Mombasa (Dongo Kundu) and Naivasha Special Economic Zones, the key development areas will be undertaken by the government and the private sector in three phases.

The first phase is the development of Port infrastructure and related public infrastructure by the Government of Kenya in partnership with the Japanese Government.

As part of the Nairobi decongestion initiative, the Cabinet approved the Development of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport — James Gichuru Expressway project (The Nairobi Expressway Project) as well as the Bus Rapid Transit Line 3 under a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement.

The Development of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport — James Gichuru Expressway project will have several components, key among them being the development of a multi-lane highway from JKIA to James Gichuru Road Junction, which will cover 18.6 kilometres.

The other component will be the development of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which will comprise BRT stations, park and ride facilities at high demand commuter transfer points.

On the other hand, the BRT line 3 is part of the government’s Integrated Mass Rapid Transit plan that includes transport infrastructure development and traffic management.

It’s expected to transport 300,000 passengers per day and 12,000 passengers per direction during peak hours, effectively decongesting the City of Nairobi.

Additional reporting by PSCU