SALGAA, Kenya, Jan 29 – Devki Group Chairman Narendra Raval (Guru) has called on the government to impose a duty of at least 25 percent on importation of raw material for cement production to support growth of the local cement industry and jobs.
Raval said Kenya has enough clinker to meet local demand and imposing duty or a total ban of clinker importation will protect local industries from competition, create more jobs for Kenyans, and save the country billions of shillings in foreign exchange annually.
Speaking during the opening of the Group’s Sh5.8 Billion (USD58 million) cement plant in Nakuru, Raval said taming clinker imports will also reduce cement prices and encourage more Kenyans to build affordable houses.
“We urge the government to impose a duty of 25 percent or more on clinker importation from September 2020 or ban clinker importation like the Tanzania government to protect local industries and create more jobs for the Kenyan people,” said Raval.
Kenya Imports approximately 2 million tonnes of clinker annually, costing the country over Sh 10 Billion (USD100M) in foreign exchange every year. Devki Group is also constructing a second clinker line in Emali, Kajiado County for production of raw material for cement that will increase the Group’s total capacity to 3.5 million tonnes of clinker annually, which is the total requirement for Kenya.
“We are gearing towards fixing the country’s clinkers gap and making Kenya a regional market for raw material in cement production. If we add clinker produced by other companies, Kenya and East Africa has sufficient surplus capacity of raw material for cement production that will contribute to further reduction in cement prices,” said Raval.
The Nakuru plant has a production capacity of 750,000 metric tonnes and is currently the biggest investment in Nakuru County.
The second phase expected to be complete this year will increase production capacity to 1.5 million tonnes. Up to 700 direct jobs have already been created with the operation of the plant, significantly increasing the group’s total employment to 6,200 Kenyans employed directly and over 35,000 jobs indirectly.
Raval said the group is looking to bring more Kenyans into employment when its second line is operational after power connection by September 2020. This line will create additional 1000 jobs.
President Uhuru Kenyatta while opening the facility said his Jubilee administration will continue supporting more value addition factories as Kenya seeks to attain the Big Four Agenda.
“The inauguration of manufacturing factories in various parts of the country including the interior parts is laudable and a boost to the Big Four Agenda,” said Kenyatta.
The Head of State said the cement factory, which is a major boost in the manufacturing sector, will support roads and the affordable housing project.
Our Second steel project by Group company, Devki Steel Mills Limited is currently under construction in Kwale will make Kenya import free from steel by June 2021 and will create extra employment of 3000 jobs.
Iron ore export should be banned immediately as it is our country’s mineral and the main raw material for manufacturing of steel to create the environment and necessity for steel plants investment.
We appreciate the Government’s efforts to support the manufacturing sector by reducing the I.D.F and rail development levy and also appreciate the support given to the manufacturing sector on rebates of power.