Almost two weeks since President Uhuru Kenyatta directed all retailers to sell a pack of 2 kilograms maize flour at Ksh100, majority of Kenyans are still grappling with the high cost of the commodity.
Most retailers are still selling flour for as high as Ksh200, with some outlets having empty shelves.
Explaining the reason why the subsidized Ksh100 unga has not hit the shelves, Agriculture Principal Secretary Francis Owino blamed it on an existing agreement between millers and retailers.
Speaking on Monday, August 1, Owino explained that maize millers are shying from selling their flour to supermarkets and other retailers over a longer credit period leading to the shortage.A file photo of maize flour on display at a supermarket in Nairobi.
Owino revealed that millers supply flour on credit which is then paid after 45 days.
This has compelled the government to ask retailers to cut the time they take to pay millers from 30-45 days to at least two days to contain the biting shortage and ensure the flour is accessible to consumers.
"Our millers are not able to supply flour to the supermarkets because of the 45 days contractual arrangement. Our plea is for the two parties to reflect and consider that contractual agreement to align with the commitments of government," Owino explained.
He further assured millers that the government will release funds within 24 hours of making
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Peter Munya had accused the maize millers of hoarding the commodity to cause the artificial shortage.
The CS announced a nationwide crackdown on millers hiding the maize flour despite the government's subsidy money.
"We have paid them, money is there…we pay them every day…there are those that want to hide it. Right now, investigations are ongoing in my office to see who is hiding Unga," Munya stated.
"Money was paid; why are they continuing to charge you a lot of money? We will take action on them," he added.
Uhuru's directive triggered panic buying in most supermarkets as Kenyans complained about the commodity's unavailability.President Uhuru Kenyatta when he launched Ksh24 billion Karimenu II Dam on August 1, 2022 in Kiambu County.
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