A local cement firm is keen on using locally produced clinker to reduce the cost of its products even as the country scales up the construction of affordable houses.
National Cement Company Ltd said West Pokot and Kajiado counties, among other parts of the country, have large deposits of clinker that can be explored instead of relying on imports which are responsible for higher prices of cement.
The administrator at the Devki Group of Companies under which National Cement Company falls Peter Paul said the firm will prioritise the use of local clinker.
Paul said cement prices would reduce drastically once the country embraces local production of clinker. Clinker is one of the key materials used in the production of cement. "We have plenty of clinker in counties like Kajiado and West Pokot, and this can be used to lower the prices of cement if put to use instead of relying on imports," he said.
Paul spoke when he issued bursaries to needy students from the locality at its Simba Cement factory at Bondora in Kaloleni, Kilifi County.
National Cement Company is reviving the former Athi River Mining factory at Bondora and has already recruited 350 workers, mainly from the county. He said the Simba cement factory has undergone five months of trial runs and was ready for full operations by April this year.
"We have refurbished the factory and conducted trial runs for the last five months, and we are set for full operations by April," he said.
He noted that the management installed bag filters acquired at $150,000 (over Sh18 million) to stop dust emissions that caused environmental problems for locals in the past. He said the scholarship introduced by Simba Cement, a subsidiary of Devki Group, was part of its corporate social responsibility to communities where it operates.
The Group also operates the Devki steel factory in Kwale County, recently commissioned by President William Ruto.
Ms Gladys Dama, who received a cheque for her daughter, Miss Emily Mbodze, admitted at Bahari Girls high school in Kilifi County, said the revival of the firm is a blessing to residents.
"My daughter scored 372 marks but I had no school fees. I thank God that this firm has come to my rescue," she said.
Mbungoni deputy headteacher Mr Derick Karisa said the firm constructed classrooms and an office at his school. He welcomed a proposal by the firm to introduce a school feeding programme.
Locals say life has returned to the Bondora shopping centre and its environs after Simba Cement factory, revived the former Rhino Cement operated by Athi River Mining Company.