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Kicomi, Mountex revival to cost Sh1bn


A Mountex plant that is falling apart. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The government will by 2020 revive Nanyuki-based Mount Kenya Textiles (Mountex) and Kisumu Cotton Mills (Kicomi) at a cost of Sh1 billion, Trade and Industry minister Peter Munya says.

The government has so far kicked off feasibility studies on the two facilities that collapsed in the 1990s on Bretton Woods institutions-imposed Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) that demanded Sub-Saharan countries free markets to international competition.

Liabilities of the two plants will be covered by the State.

Mountex was established in 1978 as a State firm with funds from the Industrial Development Bank, having started off as Nanyuki Textiles Mills.

In 2005, Credit Bank appointed Vipul Shah and Kamal Shah as the receiver managers after it went under and later collapsed to a point where its building and machinery were vandalised.

This led to the collapse of cotton industry in the country as second-hand clothing flooded the market and won acceptance while ready-made clothes performance dipped more than 80 percent.

This eventuallly denied the mills business, confining them to disuse and vandalism.

Mr Munya said the President will kick off the revival of these two plants “latest in the next two months”.

He said the two plants were strategic to the government’s industrialisation agenda, saying they have the capacity to directly employ at least 7, 000.

Together with the recently revived Rift Valley Textiles (Rivatex), projections are that they can revamp cotton farming and engage a further 1.3 million farmers in rewarding agribusiness.

The revival will be an opportunity for investors to launch small ginneries, hence achieving the goal of wealth creation as espoused in the Vision 2030 development goals.