Dubai textiles firm to create 10,000 jobs at Olkaria plant


United Aryan chairman Pankaj Bedi (left) with Industrialisation secretary Adan Mohammed during a tour of the Baba Dogo plant early last year. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG

A Dubai-based textiles company, United Aryan (EPZ), plans to build a factory that could employ up to 10,000 workers at Olkaria geothermal fields in Naivasha to take advantage of lower electricity costs.

The factory, expected to be constructed in the next two years, will manufacture apparel such as trousers, knit tops, fleeces, shirts, robes and pajamas.

United Aryan currently operates at Baba Dogo’s Balaji Export Processing Zone in Ruaraka, where it manufactures apparels for export.

The company’s founder and Chairman Pankaj Bedi said the factory will produce products for sale not only in Kenya, but across other markets in the world such as US and Europe.

“We have identified an ideal place at Olkaria geothermal fields in Naivasha where we intend to establish a Sh11.5 billion factory for the production of quality garments. We expect to start construction in the next two years and thereafter start operations as soon as the factory will be complete,” Mr Bedi said in an interview.

The factory, which will sit on a 20-acre land will provide employment opportunities to an estimated 10,000 locals directly and 40,000 other Kenyans indirectly.

It will have six units made up of 84 lines with the capacity to produce and wash more than 100,000 pieces of attire on a daily basis.

READ: US signs pact to train and hire 2,000 Kenyans in textile industry

The firm’s expansion is in line with Kenya’s goal of expanding its manufacturing base, which contributes about 10 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
The sector’s share to GDP fell to 9.2 per cent in 2016, the lowest growth compared to other sectors of the economy.

The lackluster performance of the sector has been cited as the reason Kenya has failed to achieve the targeted sustainable annual 10 per cent growth in GDP from 2010 as envisioned in Vision 2030.

The best performance of the overall economy was in 2010 when GDP expanded 8.4 per cent.

Since then, it has grown below six per cent dashing hopes of an upper middle-income economy in the next 12 years.

This has pushed Kenyan goods off the shelves in favour of cheap imports from international and regional markets, denying local industries revenues.