Kitui County has signed a lucrative multi-million shilling deal with the national government to tailor government uniforms for Chiefs and their Assistants countrywide.
Speaking at Kitui County Textile Centre (KICOTEC) on Thursday after receiving a consignment of 23, 400 metres of clothing material from the Embakasi based Administration Police Training College Quarter Master to tailor the first batch of 6, 000 uniforms, Governor Charity Ngilu termed the contract as a game changer for the garment factory; a first since devolution.
Governor Ngilu said that the contract was actualised after Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i toured the garment factory to assess its preparedness and capacity to manufacture uniforms for chiefs and their assistants as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta when he launched Huduma Namba in April in Masii, Machakos.
“We want to assure the government that the 6, 000 uniforms will be tailored within two weeks and delivered. The quality of the uniforms will stand out. We have the prerequisite professional expertise and work force to roll out the uniforms,” she said.
Governor Ngilu said that the county spent Sh. 168 million to establish KICOTEC, including buying the various sewing machines, building the structures and training staff.
She thanked President Kenyatta for the support, saying his directive to have uniforms for members of national government administration manufactured in Kitui was a stamp of approval for her initiative, the first one by a county government.
Governor Ngilu said the purpose of establishing the factory was not only to create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs but also to retain the more than Sh. 2.5 billion that parents in Kitui County spend buying school uniforms from manufactures in Nairobi and other counties.
“We just began this year and we have already proved that we can do it. In future, we will be bidding to manufacture massive quantities of uniforms for prisoners as well as for prison warders,” she said.
Governor Ngilu said her county is eager to deliver quality fabrics for the administrators in order to win the confidence of the national government and other prospective clients.
During the tour, Dr. Matiang’i said that there is no point in using public resources to support other economies by importing products that can be made locally.
“We must build our country by buying our locally manufactured products and that’s why we will support Kitui County to expand its garment factory besides giving it government business to make chiefs’ uniforms,” he had said.
On his part, Jackson Ole Chuta, Ag. Kitui County Commissioner said that the facility will receive round the clock security manned by police officers to ensure the security of the workers, equipment and garments at the factory.
“I thank the Governor for this visionary project that is aimed at transforming the livelihoods of the locals and increase revenue for the county coffers,” said Ole Chuta.
The factory, which has 145 modern electric sewing machines installed together with other embroidery and pressing machinery, is modelled along the lines of the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) garment unit and can run for 24 hours on different working shifts.
“At full capacity, the fabrics factory will run 24 hours employing more than 600 young people who were jobless before. Each of the 600 young people will earn a living here and build the Kitui economy,” the governor said.
The governor said that other than school uniforms, demand for fabrics including hospital and hotel bedding, staff clothing for counties, some of which are being imported from Asian countries, is more than enough to sustain the new factory.
Governor Ngilu explained that with the estimated 486,000 students in both primary and secondary schools, the factory will ensure the county retains more than Sh.2billion annually, in the process stimulating the local economy.
By Yobesh Onwong’a