Maize Millers have decried the failure by government to complete the payment of arrears Sh2.57 billion owed by National Treasury from the month long maize flour subsidy introduced last year.
This is after Former President Uhuru Kenyatta had introduced a short term maize flour subsidy program that had been implemented between July 21 and August 17, 2022.
The flour subsidy had benefitted the consumers who were to purchase a 2-kilogramme packet of maize meal at Sh100 instead of the prevailing price of Sh210 in a move that was aimed at easing negative consumer sentiment over the high flour prices that had hit a historic high of Sh230.
According to the Cereal Millers Association (CMA), flour sold was worth Sh4.34 billion but were paid only Sh1.76 billion leaving an outstanding balance of Sh2.57 billion, hence an urgency for Treasury to settle the arrears.
Further arguing that some 1,207 invoices from the millers have already been verified to ascertain the authenticity of the sales. Remarking that the subsidy played a role in assisting the consumers deal with increased cost of maize flour as a result of the prolonged drought that has affected food production generally.
“The CMA has been in communication and is still consulting with the Treasury and other relevant government ministries to address all matters related to the maize subsidy program and is urging the Government to pay millers their outstanding amounts, to enable them to buy adequate quantities of raw material to ensure food security during these difficult climatic and economic times,” said the millers.
However, the National Treasury in response has stated that the half-year spending was more than double the Sh22.23 billion that the National Treasury had budgeted to spend on giving consumers a temporary buffer between high commodity prices in the full financial year 2022/23.
“As we finalize the budget for the FY 2023/24 and the medium term, I wish to emphasize that the economy is operating under tight fiscal constraints,” said Treasury Cabinet Secretary Prof Njuguna Ndung’u.