Vihiga residents grow anxious over delays in setting up EPZ


Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo (right) and his Deputy Patrick Saisi during a past press briefing. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NMG

Vihiga County residents are restless over delays in the establishment of an Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in their backyard to spur economic development and address poverty levels.

The plan to set up the go down on a 35-acre church land in Kaimosi was muted in 2018 by the county government and the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA).

But lack of activity on the land more than three years later is turning the residents jittery and are now calling for the immediate implementation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was signed in 2018.

Locals, through Senator George Khaniri, have intensified the push for the realisation of the ambitious venture.

The EPZ, complete with a processing zone and an industrial park, is to be established in the area that also houses the Kaimosi education complex and locals are demanding the realisation of the mega plan to boost the ailing economy and cause job creation.

The church land on which the establishment is to sit was leased to the county government by the Friends church.

The devolved unit however explained that processing of the sublease title to EPZ is to blame for the delay in the start of operations.

"Processing of the sublease title to EPZ delayed the process and plan to start operations. The county government has finalised the plan and we are waiting for the Friends church to give out the mother title," Trade Executive Mr Geofrey Vukaya said.

"We have met the EPZA officials and we are waiting to hold another meeting on a date to be determined by the Authority."

The go down is expected to host a textile industry, leather industry and an agro-processing zone.

The Friends Church agreed to lease the land to the county government for 99 years.

"The proposal for the establishment of EPZ at Kaimosi was to be complete with an industrial park. If realised, this will attract more investment into our region to boost our economy and create job opportunities for our people," Khaniri said:

Other activities to be undertaken in the area include processing of skins and hides, value addition and promotion of cottage industries.

Its construction was slated to begin immediately the sublease title is in the name of EPZA.

If realised, EPZA will also put up a water supply project to serve the area and improve the general road infrastructure.

When Governor Wilber Ottichilo and EPZ chief executive Mr Fanuel Kidenda signed the agreement for the construction of the industrial park in June 2018, the county boss noted that the venture would spur development, boost economic turnaround and lead to the creation of employment opportunities.

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