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Investors Wanted for Kenya's Special Economic Zones

Kenya is on course in facilitating the development of the identified three special economic zones in the country, acting Industrialization Minister Amason Kingi has said.

The Minister was speaking when he received a delegation of prospective investors from Singapore at the Ministry yesterday. The delegation led by the Minister of Trade and industry from Singapore Mr. Lee Yi Shyan. The twenty six member delegation included several government officials, investors in shipping sector, consumer products, construction industry, electronic equipments, automotive parts and ICT.

The Minister told the delegation that the country recognizes the benefits of inward investments and had tailor made friendly systems to facilitate those wishing to invest here. He further said the country had a well developed manufacturing sector with access to a regional market with a population of more than 130million people.

In response Mr. Shyan said the delegation was in the country to explore the available investment opportunities in Kenya's emerging economy. He appreciated efforts made by the country in preparation for investment in the special economic zones and said it was realistic. He said there was need to initiate discussions towards the six memorandums of understanding signed between the government of Kenya and Singapore two years ago. He said the delegation had already been to various countries but was moved by efforts made by Government to make Kenya a viable investment destination.

In his remarks in the same meeting, Assistant Minister for Industrialization Ndiritu Muriithi interested the delegation with an outline of the various investment incentives the country had put in place to facilitate new investments. He said investors enjoy numerous tax incentives including a ten year corporate tax holiday, withholding tax holiday, excise duty and value added tax (VAT) exemption, and repatriation of profits.

Speaking during the same event Industrialization Permanent Secretary Dr Eng Karanja Kibicho said the government has come up with a legal framework for the development of the identified special economic zones and has already prepared a draft bill which is presently under perusal by the state law office for onward transmission to parliament for action.

PS Kibicho pointed out that the special economic zones, will allow for a wider range of commercial ventures, wealth creation and job opportunities. It is, envisaged; he said that the SEZ programme will go a long way in contributing towards the achievement of economic objectives and goals of Vision 2030 aimed at transforming Kenya into a globally competitive country.

The Director in charge of the special economic zones in the Ministry of trade Mr. Nderitu Githinji who also attended the meeting said that the establishment of special export zones will also allow for the existence of free ports and trade zones along Mombasa road and across the coastal strip, science and technology parks, agricultural free zones and tourism development zones. He said the country hoped to an increase in export earnings, diversification of manufactured goods, and linkages of various sectors of the economies when these zones were ready.

The delegation included the Vice Chairman of the Singapore Business federation and president of the Singapore chamber of commerce and industry Mr. Teo Siong Seng. The meeting held at the Ministry of Industrialization headquarters was also attended by all heads of Departments.

The writer is the Ag Head of the Public communications Office

Ministry of Industrialization