Counties with export processing zones (EPZ) ranked highest in contribution to Kenya’s manufacturing economy according to the latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
Nairobi, Mombasa, and Machakos contribute more than half of the entire country’s manufacturing capacity according to the economic survey.
KNBS said these counties have EPZ which has boosted their manufacturing capacity.
“The ranking of counties based on contribution revealed that counties with Export Processing Zones located within their jurisdictions such as Nairobi, Mombasa and Machakos posted substantial contributions,” KNBS Gross County Product read.
The government is currently building EPZ in Taita Taveta, Nairobi, Mombasa, Uasin, Kitui, and Nakuru counties, targeting exports to the rest of Africa and beyond while reserving 20 percent of their goods for the local market.
The law has also been amended to allow private entities to establish EPZs, prompting several multinationals to move into Tatu City and Tilisi Light Industries, both in Kiambu County.
The EPZ Authority is also granting status to some existing manufacturers such as Kitui County Textile Center (KIKOTEC) and wants the zones expanded across the country.
EPZ has become the nerve centre of Kenya’s manufacturing, especially during the Covid 19 pandemic.
The government offered temporary relief to EPZ manufacturers by allowing them to sell 20 percent of the annual production in the local market to cushion companies from Covid-19 effects.
Currently, more than 20 textiles, pharmaceuticals, agribusiness, and food industry companies representing 15 countries are operating in EPZ.
Several local and international investors obtained pieces of land in a disguise to set up industries several years ago but no structure has come up.
Under rules governing EPZA, an investor can be allocated a maximum of two and a half pieces of land to set up a factory within 24 months in a government effort to promote local industrialization.
The EPZA management is currently in the process of repossessing all its undeveloped pieces of land held by land speculators in the next two months to allow expansion.