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Government to ban importation of shoes to spur local leather industry

The government will ban importation of shoes starting next year in order to spur the local leather industry, Trade and Investment Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria has announced.

Kuria said that for the country to develop its leather industry, the importation of shoes should be stopped and local leather factories set up in the country.

Speaking when he presided over the groundbreaking ceremony of the Laikipia County Aggregation and Industrial Park (CAIP) in Rumuruti Township on Monday, the CS further announced that a leather factory would be set up at the park to tap into the potential of the County’s large herds of livestock.

“Laikipia has the potential of producing and selling over 60,000 cows per month and each livestock farmer has the potential of earning Sh100, 000 from skins and hides. This would translate to Sh 6 billion monthly in earnings for the county from the skins and hides value chain,” Kuria said.

The CS urged Kenyans to start embracing locally manufactured products as one way of supporting the local industries.

He further said that his ministry was urging parliamentarians to increase duty for importation of shoes to 50 percent as a way of discouraging the same.

“It’s high time we started wearing shoes manufactured in Laikipia, we don’t have to import everything yet we have the capacity to produce it ourselves and at the same time create local jobs,” Kuria said.

Laikipia Governor Joshua Irungu who hosted the CS at the ceremony urged the National government to consider setting up more industrial parks in the county noting that his administration was willing to provide more land for the same.

“We have over 2,500 acres of land set aside for industries and innovation hubs and therefore we are calling on investors to take advantage of the same and come set up their bases in Laikipia,” Irungu said.  Irungu further said the county will complement the leather factory programme by ensuring all livestock bought in Laikipia are first slaughtered and only carcasses are allowed to cross the county border.

The industrial park, the first of its kind in the Mt Kenya region, will be set up on a 250-acre piece of land donated by the county government is expected to be completed in seven months and will host several value chain components such as hides and skins for leather, dairy and livestock feeds production, avocado oil processing, soya bean, tomatoes, and maize processing units.

CS Kuria further revealed that the industrial park, once complete will be equipped with common user facilities by the Kenya Development Corporation (KDC).

By Martin Munyi

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