Kenya: Meru County Eyes Mass Production of Masks

Tailors sew masks at Mukiria Technical Training Institute.

The Meru County Government is seeking approval from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) in order to produce face masks for residents in a bid to combat Covid-19.

Meru Deputy Governor Titus Ntuchiu said they expect Kebs and PPB officers to inspect samples of locally made masks this week.

Once the devolved unit gets the greenlight, the masks will be made by local polytechnics for distribution to vulnerable residents.

In the meantime, the county says it has contracted local tailoring firms to produce about 25,000 reusable masks that will be distributed across the county.

Last week, Senator Mithika Linturi also engaged various tailors in Meru town to make masks for distribution to locals.

“We want to ensure the masks that will be produced by the county government are safe and up to standard. This will go a long way in ensuring the vulnerable residents are safe as they go about their business,” Mr Ntuchiu said.

He said the county has also ordered masks worth Sh1 million from Kitui County Textiles as well as surgical masks from Kemsa for use by health workers.

The deputy governor attributed the shortage of masks and lack of PPEs in the county to delays in procuring them from the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa).

“Our health workers are using 2,500 masks in a day hence the need for constant supply. We are receiving 50,000 masks this week and 65,000 more later. We have also ordered 500 PPEs for our health workers,” he said.

REVENUE LOSSES

Meanwhile, the devolved unit says it is likely to lose more than Sh100 million revenue this financial year due to impact of the coronavirus on businesses.

Meru Revenue Board manager John Ntoiti said the county’s purse has been hit hard after most businesses closed at the peak season.

Single Business Permits (SBP), parking fees and land rates are the key sources of local revenue for Meru, with SBP raising Sh188 million in the last financial year.

“We are currently collecting what we can such as parking fees and licences from corporates and the few operational businesses. We can only pray that this situation eases for businesses to recover,” Mr Ntoiti said.

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