Nakuru County’s plan to operationalize and attract investments in its 50-acre Special Economic Zone in Naivasha has received a major boost after 80 investors expressed interest.
The land which is part of the 1,000 acre designated for multi-billion shillings’ development of the Naivasha Inland Depot (ICD) and Special Economic zones is set to fire up the social and economic status of the county.
According to the County Lands and Physical Planning Chief Officer Judyleah Gathoni, they have successfully vetted and issued letters of confirmation to the bidders as the county finalizes approval of the zone master-plan.
Gathoni said the county would in a month’s time issue sub-leases that will allow the investors kick-start their investments and transform the land located in Mai-Mahiu into a commercial hub.
Gathoni added that the special zone has the capacity to accommodate a myriad of investors’ interests including financial, hospitality and conferencing centres, retail, warehousing, public recreational facilities among others.
She said the county has jointly engaged the Ministry of Lands to collect public views, opinions and interests to inform a more public-centered special zone master plan.
The full operationalization of the Special Economic Zone by both local and international investors is set to create thousands of job opportunities to locals, boost business and turn around the fortunes of Mai-Mahiu town.
To facilitate informed physical plans, the county in 2020 gazetted the Industrial park and Inland Container Depot as special economic zones to protect the multi-billion shillings’ investments from unplanned structures.
Speaking to the press, Naivasha Municipal Board Member, Absalom Mukusi, said the board has put in place programmes to facilitate investments in the area including seamless licensing process of businesses.
He added that in collaboration with the departments of lands and engineering, the county has put in place foundational infrastructures in the area including access roads, water intended to enhance business setups.
Mukusi dismissed reversal of port operations calls to Mombasa by a section of leaders noting that Naivasha dry port was set up to complement and facilitate easy clearance of cargo to the hinterland.
The national government has so far pumped billions of shillings to operationalize the ICD through the successful linkage of the old Metre Gauge Railway line and the new Standard Gauge Line at a cost of Sh3.5 billion.
The interchange which has created two corridors one being from Kisumu through Lake Victoria to Port Bell in Uganda and through Malaba by rail has enhanced seamless transportation of passengers and cargo between the two countries.
To fire up the operations at the special zones, the government has initiated Sh1 billion water project from Naivasha town to Mai-Mahiu to facilitate construction and is also set to tap geothermal wells energy potential for power.
By Erastus Gichohi and Brian Gitagia