Sh51 billion to develop economic zones

January 28, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – The Industrialisation Ministry requires Sh51.3 billion in the next five years to implement projects such as the development of two special Economic Zones that have been outlined in the ministry’s newly launched Strategic Plan.

Permanent Secretary John Lonyangapuo said on Wednesday that the government would provide most of the money, but would also expect to receive financial support from development partners and the private sector.

“We are going to spend Sh2.9 billion for the fiscal year 2008/2009 although we have a budgeted provision of Sh2.16 billion. The deficit of about Sh800 million will come from our development partners who include the World Bank, UNIDO and UNDP,” the PS explained.

One special (economic) zone will be set up in Mombasa to allow for the easy importation of necessary raw materials and the exportation of finished goods while the second one will be in Kisumu. This will allow access to regional markets and the exploitation of the available agro-processing potentials along the lake.

Speaking to Capital Business after the launch of the five-year strategic plan of 2008-2012, the PS said the ministry has also developed a master plan which seeks to map the country into industrial zones where manufacturing activities would then be set up.

“The plan is ready and we will launch it before the end of May. We are now printing smaller volumes, which will be distributed to the public,” he disclosed.

Mr Lonyangapuo expressed confidence that despite the challenges that the country is facing, the ministry would achieve its goal to increase the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the GDP by at least 15 percent by 2012.

“The problems that we have today are not going to derail Kenya from attaining its development objectives. In fact, we are turning them into a stepping stone for greater development,” he said while referring to the food and energy crisis that the country is grappling with.

The proposed industrial parks, agro-processing industries and economies zones that are set to be constructed would provide jobs, generate wealth and encourage investments in the country.

The PS also said his ministry hopes to be ISO certified by 2010.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga pointed out that for the country to be industrialised, the government had to create a conducive business environment for the private sector to operate in.

In a speech read by his Deputy Musalia Mudavadi, Mr Odinga said the government was developing infrastructure and ensuring effectiveness and efficiency in business regulations to assist industries to be competitive and innovative.

“Efforts are on going to develop the infrastructure through expansion of the road network and the airports. Plans are also underway to build the second port and discussions are going on at a regional level for the development of a modern rail network,” he relayed, adding that the introduction of 24-hour service at the Port of Mombasa had increased efficiency in the turnaround time for ships and the clearance of cargo.

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