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September 22, 2017

Factories will create 1million jobs

One of the factories in Mtito Andei./FILE
One of the factories in Mtito Andei./FILE

The past four years of devolution have seen a dynamic shift in investment opportunities from the central administrative nerve of the country, that is, Nairobi, to the 47 administrative antennae of the county government. One key concern for every county government is translating the pre-election promises of job creation into reality.

In the past year there have been layoffs in various economic sectors, particularly in banking and manufacturing. How do we, as county governments, respond to the changing technological revolution that is disrupting employment opportunities in private and public sector.

In Narok county, we are paying much attention to industrialisation as a means of offering employment. The Narok County Investment Forum held in December 2015 offered a platform for potential investors to scout areas of investment in the county as well as seal deals that are now coming into fruition.

The county government has identified gaps in basic industrial products that have huge demand in the country, but sadly, are imported from Asia and the Middle East. One such lacuna is in the Sh450 billion a year drugs industry.

The cost of healthcare is ridiculously expensive and unaffordable to many who lack insurance cover. To mitigate this, the county has partnered with DG Industries from India, who will from next month begin construction of a Sh1 billion pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in the county, a venture that’s expected to create 2,000 jobs once the factory is up and running.

The county government is also partnering with top engineering college India's Northcap University, in setting up an alternative medicine research production centre. There’s limited government funding options for complementary medicine research so it’s important that county governments support such research. This centre will employ close to 500 researchers who will research on traditional herbal medicine that we believe has the potential to offer alternative cure.

The county government is alive to the concern of climate change, coupled with the need for cheaper energy cost for industries setting up in the county. In this breadth, the county government has tapped JK Corporation to set up a 100MW solar power project.

It is undisputed that the cost of energy is a significant determinant of competitiveness for the manufacturing industry. The county government is setting the right policy framework to ensure Narok takes the lead in long-term renewable energy investment, which will eventually scale up our competitive edge as an ideal investment destination.

The county has partnered with Hind Agro Industries to set up an abattoir with a capacity of slaughtering 1,000 cows a day. This factory is expected to offer employment to 300 youths as well as a ready market for our people who are predominantly pastoralists. The groundbreaking has already been done and the factory is expected to start operation in the first quarter of next year.

With Industrialisation, we see an opportunity to create new jobs. These industries are forecasted to be the largest county employer. The tax income from these industries will enable the county government to fund operations through investing in capital improvement projects such as tarmacking roads, and buying mechanical equipment for agriculture and many more.

It is only the manufacturing industries that possess the capability to create the million plus jobs that we require as a country. As a county, we are alive to the need to gainfully engage the youth. The future of the county government hinges on our ability to adapt to the changing economic landscape and new ways of governing and doing business.

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