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Naivasha Special Economic Zone starts operations with 100,000 jobs expected as investors stream in

Naivasha Special Economic Zone starts operations with 100,000 jobs expected as investors stream in

Naivasha,

Thursday, April 25, 2024

KNA by Erastus Gichohi

The government’s move to attract investments and operationalize the Naivasha Special Economic Zone by assuring the lowest power tariffs from geothermal energy is set to create over 100, 000 jobs for Kenyans.

The zone that sits on a 1,000-acre, strategically located piece of land in the Mai Mahiu area of Naivasha has already attracted bids from five investors worth billions of shillings.

Thanks to its proximity to the Inland Container Depot, the Standard Gauge Railway and the steady and sustainable geothermal power from Olkaria wells, the zone’s attractiveness compares to no other.

Through the government’s commitment to revise its investment policies, regulatory laws relaxed taxation processes, and lower power tariffs, the Naivasha SEZ has taken off with the first company opening its doors to Kenyans.

Yesterday, Jumbo AAA Holdings launched its first car auction firm at the zone, where Kenyans will bid for their favorite second-hand cars, spare parts, motorcycles, and machinery using local currency through a click of a button.

The investment, termed as a game changer in the automotive industry, is expected to reduce the time of procuring a car or machinery from 90 days to seven days while cushioning Kenyans from exchange volatility by trading in shillings.

Speaking during the official launch of the company by President William Ruto, Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika said the zone operationalization will turn around the economic fortunes of the county and country.

Kihika who lauded the President’s commitment to support investors setting up enterprises at the zone said the move will create 100,000 jobs for deserving youths, spur economic growth and industrialize the region.

The Governor said the zone’s proximity to the steady availability of high voltage geothermal power promises investors the lowest power tariffs of ksh.5 per kilowatt/hour of all the Special Zones and Export Processing Zones[EPZ].

Through government commitment to geothermal exploration, more than 1,000 MW of power are currently produced at the Olkaria wells with the Rift Valley region estimated to host over 10,000 MW unexploited geothermal energy.

The government has previously commissioned one billion piped water projects from Naivasha town destined for the Industrial Park, constructed 1.5 KM of internal link roads and equipped power connections at the expansive zone.

Kihika said a close collaboration between the county and the national government will upscale more water piping to the zone to cater for the needs of the envisioned Naivasha industrial city.

In addition, the governor said the county has established a Single Business Permit aimed at streamlining ease of doing business adding that investors at the Naivasha Special zone now get land at discounted rates on an annual basis.

Consequently, Kihika said the proximity to the Inland Container Depot [ICD] will enable seamless movement of cargo and will ease handling and haulage, reducing pressure on roads.

Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara lauded the operationalisation of the special zone noting that the move will spur development, and create jobs for locals while placing Naivasha on the world map as a destination of choice for investors.

According to the Japanese ambassador to Kenya, Okinawa Ken, the establishment of the first auction of Japanese second-hand cars in Kenya is a true testament to high investor confidence in the local business environment’s attractiveness.

The ambassador said the facility will trade in reliable and highly serviced used cars, spare parts, trucks and other machinery adding that the investment will create jobs, and drive economic growth and development in the region.

On his part, Kenya Auto Bazaar Association Chairman Major John Kipchumba said the auction is a game changer in the car industry which will reduce the time needed to import the machinery by 90 percent.

Kipchumba said the use of local currency in trading at the auction will cushion traders and customers from foreign currency fluctuations currently facing financial markets.

Other companies that the government has issued with licenses to invest in the Naivasha zone include Accurate Steel Mill Ltd, JAFRO SEZ, Africa Global Logistics Ltd, Ceylon Energy Ltd and Tad Moto SEZ Ltd.

In addition, the government has also earmarked other Special Economic Zones including Egerton Zone, Eldoret, Sagana, Murang’a, Busia and Ndogo Kundu in Mombasa all geared to drive the country’s industrialization agenda, increase exports and increase dollar inflows.

In a bid to attract investors to these zones, the government has instituted various fiscal and administrative incentives including exemption from stamp duty and local government’s advertisement fees and business service permits.

The firms will also enjoy preferential corporate rates of 10 per cent for the first 10 years, 15 per cent for the next 10 years and 30 per cent for the subsequent years.

Courtesy; KNA

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