The government now suspects that the said maize meal subsidy by former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government might have been largely a hoax.
Uhuru’s government struck a deal with maize millers from July last year to offer Kenyans cheap unga, by paying them to lower a packet from Sh230 to 100.
This was two months before he left State House and handed over to current President William Ruto, who immediately ended the deal after coming in.
But Ruto’s government now says that that it has noticed that despite billions being paid out to the millers for the subsidy, Kenyans kept complaining that the said unga was nowhere to be seen.
It is for this reason that the National Treasury now wants the subsidy probed before it pays the Sh3.6 billion still owed to the millers. This, The Standard has established, could soon transform into even those who controlled the process being probed.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Prof Njuguna Ndung’u has now asked the Budget and Appropriations Committee to probe how the subsidy was applied and to which extent Kenyans benefited.
“I have heard in the political circuits (that the subsidy was not effective). This requires some form of investigation and this is where this committee will help because we are not going to deal with it as a political issue but as an expenditure. It should be ratified and processed. It has to be justified,” he is quoted by The Standard.
He argues that as things stand, his office cannot directly pinpoint where the subsidy went as Kenyans are complaining that they never enjoyed the unga.
Committee Chair Ndindi Nyoro says that his team has also confirmed that the cheap unga was nowhere and will, therefore, take up the CS’s challenge.
“When you spend Sh4 billion in a subsidy, prices ought to have come down. We have been asking wananchi across the country but they did not see this… prices of flour did not go down anywhere. Even if we find pockets where unga prices went down, probably that is a good basis,” he said.