Nairobi — Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed has appointed a nine-member Leather Development Taskforce to spearhead recovery of the local industry.
The taskforce comprises of leading players from the private and public sector and will serve for one year.
Speaking when he unveiled the team on Friday, the CS said their mandate will be to oversee the implementation of the leather development strategy.
"This Taskforce has been appointed with a clear brief to share their wealth of experience on how the leather sector can be sustainably developed to create jobs and facilitate development of the leather sector in Kenya," Mohamed said.
Among other strategies, the taskforce will map out avenues to ensure the efficient delivery and supply of leather products required by public sector consumers such as the Armed Forces and National Police Service.
The taskforce will also evaluate viable models to be adopted in an engagement programme with the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development and county governments geared at encouraging the counties to establish modern abattoirs' and regional tanneries in their respective areas.
Those appointed to the Leather Development Taskforce include, Bata Shoe Company CEO Alberto Errico, Leather Technologies and Fashions Limited director Dr. Samuel Kiruthu, Alpharama Limited Managing Director, Sambasiva Rao and the Acting Secretary and CEO at the Kenya Leather Development Council, John Muriuki.
Other members are The Director of Industries, Erastus Kimuri, veteran leather trader, Robert Njoka and Sagana Tanneries Executive Director, Yassin Awale, as well as leather entrepreneurs, Nalina Rupani and Mumtaz Mughal, of Leather Life EPZ.
Despite a heavy demand of up to 28 million units of leather, Mohamed expressed regret that the demand is still served by imported supplies due to an existing deficit of more than 24 million units against the current local supply of less than four million units annually.
The local leather industry has a capacity to make a significant economic contribution of up to Sh55 billion ($630 million) of the economy.
"With the global leather demand now estimated at more than US$ 60Billion, we must work hard to grab a share of the cake," he said