Nakuru Woos Investors From The US

Nakuru County government has tabled a finance bill in the County Assembly seeking to reduce the number of permits required by investors to do business in the County to just a single permit.

Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika said this is meant to help eliminate double taxation and make the entire process less cumbersome and help bring in the much-needed investment in order to create more jobs for the youth in the County.

‘We are simplifying the licensing of businesses under one Single Business Permit. This proposal is contained in the current Finance Bill, which is undergoing public participation and we expect it to have passed through the House before the County Assembly breaks for the December recess,’ she said.

The Governor was speaking in Naivasha on Thursday during a meeting with investors from United States of America (USA) who are seeking to invest in various sectors in the County.

Kihika said investors have shown interest in the pyrethrum sector, potato, milk, health, apparel, and digital space. In the
apparel sector, she said Indian investment companies have shown interest in tapping into the sector in the County that is set to employ over 25,000 jobs in the next five years.

Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika (R) talking to United States Ambassador to Kenya; Margaret Whitman (centre) and Charles Copeland-USAID Communications Advisor during the County Investment Forum to explore viable areas of investments and the ease of doing business that was held on in Naivasha on Thursday.

She added that farmers in the potato sector for instance will also benefit from minimum guarantee returns which will see them sever ties with exploitative middlemen. Kihika noted that in order to for farmers to reap maximum returns form their labour, the companies that are looking forward to invest in the county are ready to give farmers lucrative contracts, provided them with certified seeds and other farm inputs, extension services and already market for their agricultural produce.

The investors are also targeting to take advantage of
the Export Processing Zones (EPZ) and other special economic zones set up by the County government to venture into value addition to various agricultural produce mentioned earlier such as potatoes, milk and pyrethrum.

‘We are the only County in Kenya whose Special Economic Zones (SEZs have the lowest tariff of US 5 cents per kilowatt hour low-cost energy with climate-smart solutions due to the proximity to Olkaria geothermal power station,’ Kihika revealed.

She said Special Economic Zones located in Egerton and Naivasha offers graduated corporate tax of 10 per cent for the first 10 years, 15 per cent for a further 10 years and 30 per cent from the 21st year.

‘We also offer 100 per waiver on Customs Duty for capital goods such as plant, machinery equipment and construction materials. The waiver applies to manufacturing, agriculture, electricity generation, tourism, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Education investors,’ the governor told the impending investors.

She added that they will also o
ffer exemption from Value Added Tax (VAT) on raw materials, machinery and other inputs, on-site and off-site infrastructure and utilities provided by Government and Land at discounted rates on an annual basis.

During the meeting, Kihika revealed that the County was in the process of developing the potato value chain. In this regard, she noted that Nakuru produces 572,000 metric tons of potatoes worth Sh. 11 billion on 32,258 hectares of land owned by 75,000 farmers but the post-harvest losses stand at 30 per cent which need to be checked through proper value chains.

The governor also observed that techno-savvy youths have benefited from computers from her government to enable them to work online for American companies with 300 youths already enrolled with a target to grow the number to 5,000 in the next five years.

United States Ambassador to Kenya, Margaret ‘Meg’ Whitman on her part said many American companies are eyeing investment opportunities in various sectors and the deals clinched will be known aft
er six months when they are finalized.

Already, an American company; Kentegra Biotechnology in July this year embarked on construction of an ultra-modern pyrethrum processing plant at a cost of Sh.1.4Billiojn in Naivasha that will create 600 direct jobs. Once completed, the factory is expected to process over 300,000 tonnes of pyrethrum by the end of this year and more than 750,000 tonnes by the year 2025.

Kentegra Biotechnology is among privately owned firms that were granted a permit to help revitalize the pyrethrum sector in Kenya and is currently operating in over six counties with over 10,000 contracted farmers.

Source: Kenya News Agency