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Big Four Agenda

Kericho based steel factory to boost construction in South Rift

The company is well positioned to tap raw materials for its production from the region.

In Summary

• Those planning to carry out constructions will now spend less money due to cheap and readily available materials from the factory.

Workers separate scrap metal at Prime Steel factory in Kericho
Workers separate scrap metal at Prime Steel factory in Kericho
Image: Felix Kipkemoi

Developers in South Rift region have reason to smile after a Sh800 million steel manufacturing plant was opened in the area.

Prime steel company at Awasi in Kericho producing iron and steel materials comes as a big relief to construction companies and developers from the region that have for long incurred huge expenses when sourcing for the materials. Robert Rono, an architect based in Bomet, said the presence of Prime Steel has changed the construction sector for the better. Rono said those planning to carry out constructions will now spend less money due to cheap and readily available materials from the factory.

“Cost of transportation is much less nowadays besides spending less in acquiring the materials for construction from the factory,” adds Rono. Until recently, developers and local suppliers have had to source for materials from Eldoret and Nairobi which are the nearest centres in the region. Rono hails the development of the plant saying its successful establishment was a true realisation of the industrialisation plan under the Big 4 agenda.

“This is a testimony that the Big 4 agenda can turn things for the economy of the country,” said Rono. African countries are fast moving towards promoting manufacturing as it is the most significant tool that presents sustainable and quickest means of boosting their economy. In the country, the manufacturing sector had been forgotten, contributing less than 10 per cent of the GDP in the past 10 years according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Plant manager Satyanarayana Ganta during an interview at his office in Prime Steel factory, Kericho.
Plant manager Satyanarayana Ganta during an interview at his office in Prime Steel factory, Kericho.
Image: Felix Kipkemoi

With government keen on promoting the sector, it anticipates that by 2022 it will contribute up to 15 per cent. The plant which now boasts of five other branches across the country sits on a 26-hectare land; formerly a sugarcane farm, located off the Kericho-Kisumu highway.

The proprietor Patel Chetan says the company is well positioned to tap raw materials for its production from the region including the discovery of huge iron ore deposits in the Western part of country and neighbouring counties of Bomet and Eldoret.

It has employed more than 350 employees, most of whom are locals. The development of the plant in the area comes as a result of the government’s plan to strengthen local production by providing a good working environment to investors to set up factories as a way of reducing importations while expanding to the regional market.With the coming up of the plant, costs of the construction materials have reduced significantly.

Suppliers from Narok, Kakamega and even Nairobi source directly from the factory. Some of its products include bars, plates, and steel rolls among others and which are being now being used in construction of high buildings across the country and the ongoing standard gauge railway.Kenya’s annual demand for steel products is estimated at 500, 000 tonnes, a figure suggesting it is still less than what is being imported from outside the country to meet the demand.

The plant operations manager Satyanarayana Ganta says the company has also played a key role towards spurring development growth in the region.“We want  more of such industries in the region, more job opportunities will be created to the residents,” he told the Star in an interview at his office.

The company is also engaged in support of the local community as part of its corporate social responsibility program where it has donated construction materials to various schools in the region.The plant is also supplying clean water to the local community.