Government sets aside Sh4.7b for industrial parks in counties

Members of the parliamentary tour the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Naivasha whose construction had stopped for two years due to a lack of funding from the national government. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

The national government has set aside Sh4.7 billion for the construction of industrial parks in counties to promote manufacturing.

Counties have committed a similar amount to the project which is a partnership between the regional governments and the Ministry of  Investment, Trade and Industry, according to the PS Juma Mukhwana.

Each county is expected to contribute Sh250 million towards the implementation of the project in the next financial year. This will be used to fund the provision of electricity, water, effluent management, internet, security and common transport.

There will also be an online portal through which traders will find markets for their products, both locally and abroad.

Dr Mukhwana said the project will be implemented in two phases. "Once the parks are constructed, Equity Bank has promised to provide Sh250 billion to support the purchase of manufacturing equipment for industries willing to invest in the parks. This was after the government struck a deal with the lender," Mukhwana said.

The PS, who spoke at a forum by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers in Nairobi, said the industrial parks will accelerate value addition, create employment and enhance the Gross Domestic Product.

The PS said the government will also establish a Sh6 million fund to provide start-up capital to small-scale traders and youth under a programme dubbed "Viwanda Mashinani".

Already, Sh100 million has been disbursed to Nakuru County for the construction of basic infrastructures, Mukhwana said.

The industrial park in Nakuru will sit on 250 acres at Egerton University. This will be among the six flagship projects. Other counties identified for the first phase of the project include Busia, Murang’a, Kakamega and Kirinyaga.

Sagana Industrial Park in Kirinyaga will be gazetted as the first climate-smart agro-industrial city in the Central region.

Early this year, while on a tour in Nasewa grounds, Busia Acting General Manager for Export Processing Zone Authority Alice Atogo said this was part of the government programmes to spread EPZ programmes.

Atogo said this will increase employment opportunities and production.

"We are going to create employment for local farmers and their employees which will increase their level of income," she said.

The EPZ will, among other things, deal with fish, coconut, fruits, cassava, simsim, sunflower, groundnuts, bee farming cotton and minerals.