Five counties agree to provide land for industrial parks

Chamber President Richard Ngatia and newly elected Chairman of General Assembly of the Great Lakes Region Private Sector Forum, being congratulated by members of the assembly moment after being elected. [George Orido, Standard]

The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry has secured land in five counties where the trade lobby plans to establish industrial parks.

KNCCI President Richard Ngatia yesterday announced that Embu, Migori, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nandi have provided land where the parks will be set up in partnership with local and international investors. It is good news for investors and traders since the industrial parks or special economic zones come with incentives including tax holidays for exporters.

Mr Ngatia said the chamber has prioritised establishment of Industrial parks to boost trade in the region. “Lack of land has been a major challenge before but now we are happy five county governments have offered land for the industrial parks,” he said, adding that many investors are ready to pump their money into the projects.

He said each county will have a facility built-in line with its potential as well as the size of land provided. The move coincides with the chamber’s objective of supporting Small and Medium Enterprises produce and distribute goods and services in a more efficient manner especially within the counties.

To support SMEs, the chamber is one of the implementing agencies of the Switch Africa Green Project, which is supported by the United Nations and the European Union. The project aims to reach least 1,000 entrepreneurs in the three value chains of Mango, Coffee and Dairy in selected counties in Kenya. So far, more than 300 traders from Nandi, Kericho, Kiambu, Kajiado and Uasin Gishu have been trained on best business practices.

Ngatia, who last week was elected Chairman of General Assembly of the Great Lakes Region private sector forum, said they have partnered with Kenya Bankers Association to address financial inclusion issues facing SMEs in Kenya through Inuka programme.

It is intended to de-risk SMEs by providing enterprise development and financing with pilot programmes in Meru, West Pokot, Kisumu and Nakuru.

In the past three months the chamber has raised Sh100 million from various stakeholders towards improving trade among its members countrywide. It received Sh47 million from the IFC and the World Bank to support ICT in county chapters. The Chamber also received Sh2.7 million from the European Union for phase two of the Switch Africa Green programme and Sh8.6m from Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa SME research and support programme.

It also plans to set up saccos in counties to cater for financial needs of traders and the KNCCI Sacco committee has been established and a Sacco Chair nominated. Official launch awaits registration with the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority.

Ngatia said his team who have been in office for 100 days have led trade missions to secure business deals including accompanying President Uhuru Kenyatta to Japan to attend the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) VII.

“We agreed to establish a Kenya-Japan Working Committee to fast track the implementation of key recommendations and agreements made during the conference,” said Ngatia, who also led delegations to Colombia and the World Chambers Congress in Rio de Jeneiro Brazil. He has also played host to envoys from Tunisia, Turkey, Qatar, Ethiopia, Belarus, Luxemburg, France, Serbia, Madagascar and DR Congo.

“It has been a fruitful 100 days at the helm of KNCCI and there is every indicator that the journey will be better with partners coming on board to boost trade and entrepreneurship in Kenya,” he said.

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