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KVDA move threatens Sh6b cement project

By | September 24th 2009

By John Njiraini

Friction has emerged between two government ministries after a regional authority placed an advert in the local dailies asking interested firms to tender for a cement project in Ortum and Serbit areas of West Pokot.

Industry watchers are reading deeper mischief in the advert, placed by Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA), given that the Government has already licensed the Cemtech Group to build a factory in the area.

President Kibaki has already been invited to the groundbreaking ceremony for the factory next month. Even more curious is that the KVDA, in a meeting at KVDA Plaza on April 2 this year, agreed to allow Cemtech to set up the factory.

Other interested parties, including the Mehta Group, were to wait until next year to be considered for other locations.

KVDA falls under the Ministry of Regional Development headed by Minister Fred Gumo. Before a company is licensed to mine limestone and manufacture cement, it has to meet several requirements by the Department of Mines and Geology and the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema).

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Industrialisation rubbished the advert by KVDA, and said the Managing Director, Mr J M Mutuaruchiu should know better. The previous MD left under unclear circumstances.

In bad taste

Ministry of Industrialisation PS John Lonyangapuo, termed the advert in bad taste, because Cemtech Group was already licensed and is negotiating funding for the project. "The advert is misguided and unwarranted. It is null and void," said Lonyangapuo.

But Regional Development PS Carey Orege told The Standard on phone KVDA acted "within its mandate" and that "the advert stands".

The Standard has copies of the various licenses and approvals granted to Cemtech by the relevant authorities.

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