The construction of the planned Kshs 22 billion cement factory at Sebit area in West Pokot County is set to kick off this January according to a recent trading update with saleable cement production expected by the end of two years.
Accusations and counter-accusations have in the past emerged among the local leaders over awarding of tender to set up the cement factory. The construction will be undertaken by Cemtech Company which was awarded a 99 years lease contract in 2009 by the defunct local authority after which the County government reviewed and approved the contract.
This comes few months after, West Pokot County government threatened to revoke a license given to an investor by refunding the Kshs 12O million to the Cemtech Sanghi Group which bought 650 acres of freehold land in the area for the project site and bring in another investor. The cement factory is expected to employ more than 4,500 people directly and indirectly.
Three years ago, a delegation led by former Governor Simon Kachapin made a tour to India and held discussions with the investor.
A snap survey shows that Cemtech fenced off the area putting up a perimeter wall and a few houses, and last week, the Cemtech team met the County leadership.
Speaking in Kapenguria, Cemtech Sanghai company Chief Executive Mr. Rajesh Rawal, said that the company has acquired 65 licenses required for setting up the cement plant in the area.
He said they are ready to begin implementing the project this month. “It takes long to get all the required licenses for the factory. We shall embark on the work this January after getting all the licenses last week after a ten year struggle,” he said.
Rawal attributed the delays to logistical challenges, adding that these had been sorted out. “We have solved the two major problems, quality of the limestone content and ground geometric technicality. These affected the location of the plant,” he said.
County Governor Prof John Lonyangapuo who welcomed the investor said the factory will help eradicate poverty in the County. “We call on more investors to come to the County. We have convened a meeting with the investors; the public will be involved so that they can tell us the plans they have for the County,”said.