Nairobi — The Cabinet Secretary for Mining Najib Balala has welcomed the announcement by Africa billionaire Aliko Dangote to put up a Sh34.94 billion cement factory in Kenya, besides other investments.
Balala says Dangote's move will create employment and contribute towards the country's economic growth which is in line with the Jubilee government's promises of creating jobs to the youths.
Dangote who made the announcement during the Kenya-Nigeria business forum in Nairobi expressed optimism that the investment will be beneficial to Kenyans.
"Though Dangote is among the companies whose licenses were issued during the country's transition period and hence among those suspended, the company was cooperating well with the task force that was appointed to review the issuance of licenses and the Ministry of Mining was ready to re-engage with it and other companies for the sake of the country's development," he said.
He said Dangote's investment in the cement plant will be a big addition to the already existing companies that include the Bamburi Cement Company, AR cement, and East Africa Portland Cement Company among others which he added will also enhance competition in the industry.
"The introduction of this new plant will also boost the production of cement which is currently estimated at over 450,000 tonnes," Balala noted.
He also welcomed other investors with similar intentions saying the government was ready to support both local and foreign investors willing to invest in the country.
He noted that the Ministry of Mining intends to create an industry around mining and wooing of investors to take advantage of the existing political good will and favourable environment for investment was key.
Balala revealed the s signing of a new deal with the Geological Exploration Technology Institute -JIANGSU, China to undertake Kenya's airborne geophysical survey, to establish the country's mineral worth.
"A committee is also already working on the possibilities of establishing the metals and minerals exchange that could see mining companies in the country trade in the stock exchange," he revealed.
Other plans aimed at moving the sector forward include the Mining bill which is in cabinet and which when enacted soon, will see the establishment of the National Mining Corporation as an investment arm of the government,
Also in the pipeline include establishment of a state of the art Mineral certification laboratory , Establishment of Mineral processing and value addition clusters with gold refinery, iron and steel plants and glass manufacturing industry, gemstone cutting centres and building materials factories for cheaper housing.