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Leather stakeholders protest against park

By Fredrick Obura | April 4th 2021

NAIROBI, KENYA: The Kenya Leather Development Council (KLDC) has defended Sh1.2 billion Leather Park project in Machakos County.

The council said the development of the project is on course and necessary approvals have been done to ensure smooth completion of the project that is aimed at attracting investors to the leather industry.

“We have done a master plan for the entire area given to KLDC, construction of two affluent plants is ongoing and on target,” said Livestock PS Harry Kimutai.

According to a statement by stakeholders in the industry, The Kenya Leather and Development Council has awarded two tenders for the construction of four industrial warehouses. The construction of the warehouses is meant to facilitate the occupation of the park by having a plug and play facilities.

The stakeholders questioned the timing of the award and the process which they claim are likely to have the opposite effect of making the park a white elephant project.

The stakeholders want outstanding park issues between the Kenya Leather Development Council (KLDC) and EPZA resolved. They also claim that the council does not have enough financial back up to see the completion of the project expressing fear of pending bills if the project goes on.

They are saying that considering the current financial situation of the council, the rash award without considering the underlying factors and the consequences, the coming to an end of office terms of CEO and Board of the award there is the possibility of the whole process being driven by personal interest but not the long-term sector and national interests.

“The contracts have been awarded with full knowledge that the council has not received funds for the works in both the printed estimates and the supplementary budget. The Council expects to utilize the available funds for the ongoing construction of the common effluent treatment plant. These funds are not enough for both projects.”

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According to the stakeholders, some of the pending issues between the council and KLDC are for example the reduction of the park acreage from the 500acres to 200 acres and allocation of 100 acres to KLDC which has necessitated the resurveying and tilting of the 100 acres.

The players also say other infrastructures such as roads, water, and industrial power are yet to be put in place and any available funds should be prioritised for these activities as they are more important than the warehouses in attracting investors.

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