, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 28 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday announced that Pan Paper Mills, Webuye would restart operations in three months.
This follows the coming on board of Rai Group which has committed to injecting Sh6 billion into the mill in what President Kenyatta described as a “major milestone.”
President Kenyatta said the mill would be officially handed over to Rai in the coming week in an effort to restore “the industrial icon” to its former glory.
“This mill has for the last decade been plagued by massive debt and improper management. All of which have conspired to deprive Bungoma and Western Kenya the prosperity they deserve.”
The mill has been under the joint receivership of PriceWaterhouseCoopers and six companies had expressed interest as investors but the Rai Group was the only one left standing with a bid of Sh0.9 billion.
The Rai Group whose Managing Director is Jaswat Rai is described by Bloomberg as “an industrial conglomerate with interests in paper mills, heavy metal industries, and sugar mills,” in the region.
Once its doors re-open Pan Paper is expected to create 1,500 jobs over the next three years, as production picks up, with former employees of the mill to receive first priority.
President Kenyatta announced its reopening at State House, Nairobi in the company of Bungoma Governor Kennedy Lusaka, the Rai Group and several Members of Parliament from the region including Webuye MP Alfred Sambu who President Kenyatta personally recognised for his efforts to get the mill up and running again.
Last year the Jubilee administration injected Sh1 billion into Mumias Sugar, another icon of industry in Western Kenya brought to its knees by mismanagement and high debt.