Tender was competitive, CS Kuria says as he defends himself in edible oils scandal

Tender was competitive, CS Kuria says as he defends himself in edible oils scandal

File image of Trade CS Moses Kuria.

Cabinet Secretary for Trade and Investments Moses Kuria has tried to distance himself from the edible oil importation scandal claiming that cartels in the edible oils sector are sponsoring headlines to malign his ministry.

According to Kuria, the intervention to have Kenya National Trading Corporation (KNTC) import edible oils was arrived at in order to arrest the ballooning costs of edible oils. 

"Mr Speaker, I instructed KNTC to import edible oil with a target that one kilo of edible oils would retail at Ksh.250,... and because of 170,000 jerricans the price of oil has gone down today to Ksh.218 per litre," CS Kuria said. 

He claims that despite meeting with stakeholders in the sector more than ten times, relief for Kenyans who pay through the nose for the essential commodity remained a pipe dream.

He told the Senate Business Committee that the process that led to KNTC awarding Multi Commerce FCZ a Ksh.8.12 billion tender to supply vegetable oil and Shehena Company Limited, a Ksh.1.33 billion tender to supply jerricans of edible oil was competitive and not single-sourced.

"There's no distinction in terms of edible oil in terms of single sourcing. We don't treat edible oil differently from other commodities," CS Kuria told the committee on Wednesday.

"We did not single source. It was open. Why not same attention on rice and maize as is the case with edible oil?" he posed.

According to Kuria, KNTC has procured imported commodities valued at Ksh.22.2 billion, and by April 30, 2023, commodities worth Ksh.4.8 billion had been delivered.

The Trade CS said no payments have yet to be made to the suppliers because the letters of credit have yet to mature.

The CS, who has come under fire in the last few days over his attacks on the media after the exposé, claimed that five companies, Bidco, Menengai, Kappa, Pwani, and Golden Africa, enjoyed a monopoly in previous regimes at the expense of the taxpayer.

He claimed the companies were importing refined oil and doing minimal value addition in Kenya while locking out other players in the industry who would be slapped with a 35% levy. 

"Previously the definition of value addition which they purport to do was to import crude oil from Malaysia from one company called Wilmar in Malaysia," CS Kuria added.

"But a big part of what they do is do some very minimal value addition, create very very few jobs and then that becomes a ticket to lock out all the SMEs."

Meanwhile, CS Kuria claims that Kenya and Indonesia are collaborating to plant palm trees in several counties across the country, including Kisumu, Homabay, Migori, Busia, Lamu, and Taita Taveta.

According to CS the Indonesian president will visit Kenya in August, when the partnership is expected to be formally announced.


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