KAJIADO, Kenya, Feb 7 – President Uhuru Kenyatta Wednesday inaugurated a new cement clinker plant, underscoring the focus on promoting the manufacturing sector as a key plank of his Big Four Agenda that will create employment for young people.
The National Cement Company invested $280 million to build the clinker and 15 Mega Watt power plant located between Merrueshi and Mbirikani in Kajiado County.
The clinker plant, with a capacity of manufacturing 1.2 million metric tonnes per year, is set to employ 700 directly and provide thousands more jobs indirectly in a move that supports the government’s effort to create quality jobs for Kenyans through expansion of the manufacturing sector.
President Kenyatta said he was pleased that the plant, the latest and largest clinker plant in the region that will be making the vital ingredient in cement production, is set to increase its employment capacity to 7,000 direct jobs by 2019.
“These jobs will teach our young people vital skills. These jobs will build the economy of this county. And these jobs that will have a multiplier effect right across the country,” President Kenyatta said.
He commended the cement company, saying the single largest investment in Kajiado county, will also play an important role in supporting his vision of building affordable houses as part of the Big Four Agenda.
President Kenyatta emphasized that the impact and economic benefits of the plant will be felt across the entire country.
“Let other counties learn from Kajiado too: do all you can to attract new industrial investment. Each county in Kenya has its own strengths; and its own potential,” President Kenyatta said.
He urged factories to commit to reducing the cost of cement as part of their support to bringing down the cost of building materials to make it affordable and within the reach for those ready to put their effort and capital into building new homes and businesses.
“This will strengthen the country because it will make it far easier for us to achieve our target of half a million new homes for Kenyans,” the President said.
He pointed out that the journey that has started in Kajiado will continue in the rest of the country, saying plans are underway to build new cement and steel factories in Nakuru and Mombasa in the next four years.
“And, to secure the jobs and skills that our sons and daughters need to become self-reliant and prosperous, we will build new industries such as these, and revitalize those that have fallen below the standards that Kenyans rightly expect. These goals are ambitious; that is as it should be, for Kenyans expect nothing less of their leadership,” he said.
Industrialization and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed said the completion of the clinker plant in Kajiado is a demonstration of what local investors can do to boost the country’s economy.
The CS added that the government, working with the private sector, is focused on promoting the local production of manufacturing materials like clinker that is currently imported.
Other Speakers included Devki Group of Companies Chairman Narendra Raval who said the expansion of National Cement Company signified the growing investor confidence under President Kenyatta’s transformational leadership.
Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku and his Machakos counterpart Alfred Mutua, Senator Philip Mpaayei, Kajiado Woman Rep Janet Teiyaa, area MP Peris Tobiko and Kajiado South MP Katoo ole Metito also spoke during the opening ceremony.