The Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya has assured investors of unrelenting government support in creating an enabling environment for investment.
Citing Kenya as the best investment hub in East and Central Africa, Munya said the country has endeavored to make it easier and cheaper to invest particularly through the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) incentives, among other programs aimed at bringing down the cost of utilities.
The CS who was speaking at EPZ in Athi River, Machakos County during the official handover of Braun Infusion Plant flag to signify Germany’s first investment at the EPZ program on Tuesday said investors in the county can now enjoy reduced power tariffs.
“For example, we recently gazetted new power tariffs that bring the cost of power down by 30 percent for all manufacturing industries in the country, so if you invest in Kenya, you can now enjoy the best power costs available in this region,” said Munya.
The CS exuded confidence that Kenya is a very attractive investment destination as it has access to a big regional market in the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the upcoming Continental Free Trade Area.
He noted that Since 2013 Kenya has been a leading destination for Foreign Direct Investment placing the country third after South Africa and Nigeria in terms of volumes and first in terms of companies coming to invest in Africa.
Munya attributed this to consistent Private Public Sector Partnership polices that promote private investment as a vehicle for driving economic transformation.
The CS further lauded efforts by the Kenya Investment Authority in working closely with all Processing Zones to support investors, particularly during the incubation period when they face many teething problems.
He reiterated the President’s commitment in promoting investment in the country that focuses on the Big Four Agenda of manufacturing, universal health coverage, food security and affordable housing.
Munya further lauded B. Braun for making Kenya their investment destination, adding that the country is ready to do business.
“B. Braun is the first investment in Africa outside South Africa, so it is a good sign of confidence joining around other 150 Germany companies that have invested in Kenya,” added Munya.
He said the Buy Kenya, Build Kenya policy is aimed at supporting local content and given that currently there are no tariffs on imported medicines, investors in the country should first sell to Kenya and other East African markets.
“May I also assure you that beyond the 50 percent access that we have been given, we are currently implementing a policy to allow all pharmaceuticals that have invested in Kenya to enjoy a 100 per cent access to local market,” added Munya.
On his part, the EPZ Authority Board Chairman, Paul Gicheru welcomed B. Braun and other investors to the zones assuring them of a conducive investment environment.
Gicheru noted that on 4th October this year, the Authority won the contentious water High Court petition it had with the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company and the Mavoko Water and Sewerage Company where it was recognized as the legal custodian of its utilities.
He further urged the EPZA Senior management team to be effective and adhere to the law in service delivery where he assured investors of their security following the establishment of an Administration police post within the zone.
The German Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economics, Energy, Transport and Regional Development, State of Hessen, Tarek Al-Wazir pointed that inventions in information Communication and Technology is revolutionizing the way Kenya among other African emerging markets are conducting business.
He noted that Braun which has 65, 000 employees all around the globe, with only 1500 of them working in Germany will help create more jobs and offer affordable health care in Kenya.
B. Braun is a family run business headquartered in Hessen state with a presence in 64 countries. It is one of the world’s leading providers and manufacturers of healthcare solutions and will manufacture infusions, and ear and eye drops.
In January last year, Square Pharmaceuticals Limited, a Bangladesh-based company announced a Sh.7.5 billion investment that was to see the construction of a local pharmaceutical plant at the EPZ.
Construction of Square Pharmaceutical plant in Kenya come barely a year after the approval of the East African Regional Manufacturing Plan of Action 2017-2027, under which national procurement agencies of the EAC member states are required to buy at least half of their medicines locally.
EPZ, which hosts over 106 companies in both the Athi River zone and other special zones across the country has attracted investors from across the globe.
Other EPZ products include textile, apparels, horticultural, fruit and meat processing.
By Rachael Kilonzo