COTU, KAM threaten protests over water shortage at EPZ
SEE ALSO :Lobbies seek end to water crisis at EPZThe letter is copied to Head of Civil Service Joseph Kinyua. The COTU officials accused Irungu of lack of consultation and said no new investors can set base in Kenya under such difficult work environment. Manufacturing is part of President Kenyatta’s legacy projects under the Big Four Agenda. “Countries like Ethiopia, Lesotho, and Mauritius have a very favourable business environment as free water supply and low electricity tariffs which will attract them there,” the Cotu vice chair said KAM CEO Phyllis Wakiaga wrote to Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya protesting that the water crisis has compelled manufacturers to buy the commodity at five times the normal rate. “We would like to bring to your attention a persistent water crisis within the Athi River EPZ zone that houses a significant number of export-oriented firms, with the majority being apparel manufacturers,” she said. She added the water supply challenge is increasing the unit of manufacture within the companies and threatening the sustainability of manufacturing within the zones that is supposed to have a well-functioning utility supply to support export-oriented manufacturing. The association has requested an urgent meeting with Munya. The union says Water PS Joseph Iringu triggered the crisis. Irungu has insisted that the mandate of giving water to Kenyans is vested with his ministry and cautioned EPZA against selling any water. For years, the authority has been buying bulk water from the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company for supply to factories and the rest the balance supplied to other customers, including those in Kitengela area. “It’s by law, it’s by the Constitution and that is what we are reiterating,” Irungu said when he visited Kitengela.