President Uhuru Kenyatta Tuesday presided over the opening of a Ksh 5.8 billion cement factory in Salgaa, Nakuru County that is set to change the economy of the area.
The Simba Cement factory that will create 700 direct jobs is set to boost the construction sector by enhancing the availability of cement at affordable prices. The factory is still being expanded and will employ a further 300 Kenyans by June this year bringing the total direct jobs created to 1000.
Speaking to area residents, employees and invited guests, the President urged companies involved in the construction industry to leverage on the low cement prices offered by the processor to expand their enterprises and assured that the Government is keen on attracting more factories to the region.
Devki Group Chairman Narendra Raval said his factory is selling cement at Shs 530 in Nakuru and its environs down from Shs 750.
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President Kenyatta said Salgaa is already home to four factories and attributed to the changing fortunes of the area to Devolution, saying areas that were previously considered economically barren are now new centres of growth.
He said the Government will continue to support investments that utilise local resources to create wealth and employment opportunities for Kenyans across the country.
“My administration will support value addition, extraction industries and manufacturing and we will continue supporting investments targeting the economic base of each county,” the President assured.
The Head of State said the Government will keep investing in capacity building for local industries to enable them to get a share of the ever-expanding international market for Kenyan products.
Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Secretary John Munyes said the demand for cement is very high in the country and also in the region especially in South Sudan and Southern Ethiopia.
CS Munyes noted that Kenya is endowed with huge reserves of limestone and other raw materials used in the manufacture of cement and called for more private sector investments in the sector.
Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui said Salgaa is transforming into an industrial hub adding that the County Government was in the process of zoning it off as an industrial area.
Devki Group chairman said the Salgaa cement factory has an installed processing capacity of 750,000 metric tonnes annually. He said plans are underway to double the installed capacity going forward.
As part of the cement processor’s corporate socially responsibility, the Devki Group announced that they are supporting Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) to construct a cancer centre at a cost of Shs 300 million and donated Shs 100 million to KNH officials.