The Star (Nairobi)

28 August 2014

Kenya: Ruto Says Electricity Cost Discouraging Investors

THE government is committed to bringing down the cost of electricity in order to attract investors in the country, Deputy President William Ruto said yesterday.

He said the high cost of power remains an inhibiting factor for international and local investors keen on setting up production plants in the country and the government in liaison with related power service providers are working on strategies to bring down the cost.

Ruto said with more power generating companies and diversification from hydro to other sources of energy Kenya can now boast of enough energy for industrial and domestic use.

He said the government is equally focusing on improving the transport sector through increased funding for the country's road system and the planned standard gauge railway.

The DP was speaking at the Export Processing Zone in Athi River where he opened Wondernut International EPZ Company. He appealed to foreign investors to take up the many opportunities and friendly business environment currently prevailing in Kenya.

Ruto said the government's ban on the export of unprocessed nuts which he instituted as Agriculture minister four years ago remains in force since it had improved the fortunes of macadamia, cashew and peanut farmers in the country.

He said at the time of the ban farmers were selling their produce at Sh30 per kilo but thus has since gone up to Sh135 per kilo. The DP said the government will support macadamia and cashew nut farmers.

The deputy president ordered the police to intensify surveilance to arrest those still smuggling unprocessed macadamia to foreign markets. "Harvesting of unripe macadamia is also illegal," he said.

Wondernut International managing director said the company has the capacity to process more than 30 million tonnes of macadamia annually which is still far below the world's demand.

The Association of Macadamia Growers chairman Edward Mwaigo said Kenya's Macadamia produce is currently graded fourth in terms quality in the world market.

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