Returning National Tea Agency to its former parastatal status is retrogressive- KTDA
Kenya tea developemnt agency (KTDA) is opposing bill seeking to revert it to government, dismissing the draft bill by a group of parliamentarians as retrogressive and only meant to serve a few individuals with vested interests.
The bill by Gem MP, Elisha Odhiambo, among other provisions, propose that the government takes over KTDA and re-introduction of tea regulator.
However, KTDA Chairman, Peter Kanyago, says the move was set to take the sector backwards and would only serve to erode the gains consolidated since its privatization 18 years ago.
The Chairman says since its transformation into a limited liability company, KTDA has been able to turn tea into a viable agribusiness with farmers in Kenya earning better comparable to other tea growing countries globally.
KTDA has over the years, extended its range of investments into other areas such as banking, insurance, electricity generation and value addition
He was speaking at Chinga Tea Factory in Othaya, Nyeri, during a meeting with leadership of tea farmers in the county, Kanyago said taking away the control of the agency from the hands of the shareholders would lead to interference by state agents.
Kanyago decried heavy taxation by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), saying it had greatly affected their operations and income and appealed to the government to address the matter.
He said their business was immensely affected following the introduction of tax on exported tea that ought not to be the case as well as interest on the commodities’ earnings.
According tothe Chairman, this would greatly impair the industry with farmers bearing the brunt of decreased earnings thus affecting their output.
He at the same time said farmer should this year expect reduced bonus payout as a result of reduction of prices in the international market between the months of April to June occasioned by high production.
By Malachi Motano