NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 25 – Treasury has committed to release Sh310 million within the next two weeks for the revival of Webuye’s Pan Paper Mills.
This is in line with President Mwai Kibaki’s directive for a government injection of Sh500 million to resuscitate the company which collapsed in January last year. Treasury has already released Sh190 million for the project.
President Kibaki on Thursday reaffirmed his commitment and that of the government to the re-opening of the Pan Paper Mills.
He made the remarks at his Harambee House office during a meeting with leaders from Western Province and officials of the Ministries of Finance and Industrialisation organised to discuss the revival of the factory.
The President said the revival of Pan Paper Mills was a commitment he made to the people of Webuye and asked all government departments dealing with the firm to extend the necessary support to the once vibrant company.
The Ministry of Finance will also provide an extra Sh1.1 billion in the next financial year to allow the company resumes full operations under the new company name – Webuye Paper Mills.
The Kenya Power and Lighting Company has already restored electricity to the factory after the government paid an outstanding bill of Sh80 million.
The President affirmed that the company was crucial to the economy of Western Kenya and contributed immensely to job creation and growth of the paper production and packaging sectors in the country.
He challenged the new factory management to seek ways of applying advanced technologies that would make the company produce products at competitive prices.
The Pan Paper closed down in January last year when the management abandoned the Plant over debts totaling Sh8.1 billion.
The government then secured the company and appointed experts in September last year who recalled workers to clean the factory in preparation for its reopening.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Uhuru Kenyatta and Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey.
The Western Kenya delegation was led by Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula and included Cabinet Ministers, Noah Wekesa and Soita Shitanda and legislators drawn from the Webuye Paper Mills catchment area.