Industry and investment in Kenya on the move, President says

By PSCU/Beth Nyaga

President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced announced the resumption of the assembling of passenger vehicles by Peugeot Group, saying industry and investment in the country are on the move.

The President said he was pleased by the momentum that Kenya is creating in the motor vehicle sector.

“The investment signed today by the Peugeot Group to locally assemble motor vehicles in our country at a plant which will be announced in due course is most welcome,” President Kenyatta said.

President Kenyatta was speaking today at State House, Nairobi, where an assembly licence agreement between Peugeot Group and Urysia Limited, the local Peugeot agent, was signed. During the occasion, the President also witnessed the signing of an agreement which will see France finance the construction of Ruiru II Dam that will boost water supply to Nairobi and its environs.

The Head of State expressed optimism that the resumption of vehicle assembling in the country by Peugeot would create jobs for young people, teach them new skills and hasten the growth of associated industries which will encourage even more investment in other sectors.

“For our part, my Government will continue to enforce the Buy Kenya Build Kenya policy, to support companies and businesses that produce in Kenya,” the Head of State said.

He added: “We hope to see many Peugeot cars on our roads going forward – all of them built right here in Kenya, by Kenyans, for Kenyans and the region.”

President Kenyatta also outlined the country’s industrial agenda and progress which, he said, were key to creating jobs for the many educated, diligent and innovative young men and women.

He said the country’s manufacturing output grew by 3.5 per cent last year, signaling the revival of Kenyan industry and its return to regional dominance.

“From Wrigley, which will invest 5.8 billion in a plant in Machakos, to the Volkswagen plant which opened in Thika last year, to the Pan-Paper plant which we revived just a few months ago, industry and investment in Kenya are on the move,” President Kenyatta said.

He said his administration has also been working hard to make Kenya the region’s hub for investment and industry.

“We have worked hard to make Kenya the most attractive destination for investment in this region.  That means cutting the red tape -the thickets of rules and regulations which had grown up, and which threaten to choke off the growth of business and investment,” he said.

The President pointed out that the move to ensure transparency in the prices of inputs, the cutting of transport and energy costs through pumping more power into the grid and building of the Standard-Gauge Railway are all meant to directly benefit the Kenyan industry.

President Kenyatta said the Government has also worked to remove barriers for Kenyan investors, cut interest rates on loans and put more capital in the hands of young people and other once-marginalized groups.

“In the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, we are the 3rd most improved country globally for two consecutive years; and we also ranked as the most improved country in Africa for 2016,” President Kenyatta said.

Speaking during the occasion, France’s Minister for Economy and Finance Michel Sapin said the re-entry of Peugeot Group signaled the growing investment confidence that French companies have.

He thanked the Kenya Government for the support it has accorded Peugeot in its vehicle assembling project in the country.

Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed said he was pleased by Peugeot’s return to production in Kenya.

“The history of Peugeot in Kenya goes very far back. There was a time when every person who had a car aimed to get a Peugeot. We are very please that Peugeot is coming back to Kenya,” the Cabinet Secretary said.

Jean-Christophe Quemard, the PSA Peugeot Group Vice President for Middle East and Africa, disclosed that the company will roll out its first Kenyan assembled car in June this year.

Cabinet Secretaries Amb. Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs) and Henry Rotich (National Treasury) among other senior Government officials attended the event.