The construction of the long awaited a cement plant in West Pokot is expected to start next year, promising thousands of jobs for the local community.
In an exclusive interview with the Star Newspaper, Devki Group chairman Narendra Raval, popularity known as ‘Guru’ said the project is currently at the public participation stage and will take only 18- months to complete.
”The firm is currently holding public participation and consultative forums with residents and leaders of the area. We want to make sure the community makes the best out of this project,” Raval said.
Last month, Mining and Petroleum CS John Munyes termed the investment as a blessing to Pokot and the country at large, promising to give the investor needed support to complete the project.
West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo on other hand said the investment is a huge boost to the economy of the county and the region at large as it will create job opportunities and boost business activities in the area.
Originally, Cemtech Company was given 650 acres of land freehold for Sh131 million to set up the plant but opted to sell it to Devki Group after facing financial constrains that saw it delay construction for a decade.
The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) approved the acquisition by Simba Cement, a subsidiary of the Devki Group of Companies in 2019 for a price both parties declined to mention.
Some of the areas Simba Cement has been given rights to operate include Chepkol, Iyon, Puseli, Sebiit, Marich, and Ortun.
According to the feasibility study for the project which was commissioned in 2010 by the Kerio Valley Development Authority, the area has large limestone deposits with the potential to produce 1.2 million tonnes of cement per year.
The West Pokot plant is new project Devki Group is counting on to cut cement prices in the region, after investing in clinker production.
The company is already producing on the clinker line in Mbirikani – with an annual combined capacity of three million tonnes. It is now supplying neighbouring countries including Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
The plant which is equipped with a 15-megawatt power plant also supplies clinker to Hima Cement, Lafarge, Metro Cement among others.
Unveiling it in February 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta termed the clinker line as a big step toward lowering cement prices in Kenya and a win for his agenda on affordable housing.
The plant has created at least 700 direct jobs.
The clinker plant is as a result of $280 million investments and has so far created at least 700 jobs.
The clinker production facility in Kajiado is built on 2,200 acres of land estimated to have up to 60 million tonnes of limestone reserves that can sustain up to 45 years of production.
The clinker has a capacity of 1.1 mtpa. A further 0.75Mta kiln line is being built in Kariakani, Kilifi County, and a second 0.88Mta plant is planned for Njoro, Nakuru.
Last year, the firm launched a 750,000 tonnes capacity Simba Cement plant in Salgaa, Nakuru County.
The Sh5.8 billion facility has already employed at least 1,000 people, an achievement guru describes as heartwarming.
Raval said his factory is selling cement at Sh530 in Nakuru and its environs down from Sh750 in support of the Big 4 agenda on affordable housing.
”High productivity and lower costs have seen the firm pass on the resultant benefits to consumers in the form of lower prices, said Raval.
Speaking during the launch, president Uhuru Kenyatta said that a part from job creation, the factory will help reduce cement prices in the country.
“This will strengthen the country because it will make it far easier for us to achieve our target of half a million new homes for Kenyans,” Uhuru said.