NAIROBI – Kenyan government officials and their private sector counterparts abused a government maize subsidy programme last year to make money, leading to distortions in the market, a Senate committee said.
The East African nation’s government spent 6 billion shillings ($58.6 million) last year to subsidise maize imports after a drought caused shortages and sent the price of the staple soaring before a key election.
“The maize crisis that led to flooding of duty-free maize imported into the country was a ploy by both the public and private sector players to profiteer from distortion of the maize value chain,” the Senate committee said in its report published this week.
It did not identify by name those it said profiteered.
The report accused the government of “inconsistent, incoherent policies and pronouncements on maize importation”, which led to a flood of maize imports which then depressed prices for local farmers once harvests eventually came in.