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Economy

Simba Cement Pokot plant work to delay

John Munyes
Mining and Petroleum Secretary John Munyes. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The plan to build a cement factory in West Pokot County has run into logistical headwinds, pushing back its roll-out even after a new investor came on board.

The investor, Simba Cement which acquired Cemtech Company, says it requires one year before it starts constructing the factory at the limestone-rich Ortum location.

It has to carry out public participation and hold consultative forums with the local leaders after it was issued with licence early this year to construct the factory.

According to Mining and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes the construction will take 18 months.

“The investors need ample time to organise themselves starting with public participation but the construction of the factory will not take much long,” Mr Munyes said when he toured Sebit.

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He was accompanied by Narendra Raval managing director of Simba Cement.

Areas which Simba Cement has been given rights to operate include Puseli, Chepkol, Sebiit, Ortun, Iyon and Marich within the Ortum belt.

Cemtech company was issued licence on the 650 acres of freehold land for Sh120 million more than 10 years ago to set up the factory.

Governor John Lonyangapuo said that the plant would boost economy of the region and create jobs.

He assured the residents that their land had not been sold out for mining of the raw materials to sustain operations of the cement factory.

“Giving out licence does not amount to selling the land but leasing it out purposely to mine the minerals within Ortum belt,” Mr Lonyangapuo said.

He said the cement factory would help eradicate poverty in the County.

“We want more investors to set up businesses in our County. We have convened a meeting with them and the public will be involved so that they can tell us the plans they have for the development of the region,” Mr Lonyangapuo added.

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