SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. UHURU KENYATTA, C.G.H., PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES DURING THE INAUGURATION OF THE MODERNISED RIVATEX EAST AFRICA LTD. & LAPTOP ASSEMBLY FACTORY AT RIVATEX, ELDORET
DATE: 21ST JUNE, 2019
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am happy to return to Eldoret and to join you on this special occasion, as we inaugurate this Ultra-Modern Textile Production Plant of Rivatex as well as the Moi University Laptop Assembly Factory.
When I toured Eldoret in the run-up to the 2017 General Election, your unwavering and emphatic support was both humbling and invigorating.
Like wananchi in other parts of the country, you, the people of Uasin-Gishu County, expressed your desire for a Government that delivers on its promises.
I heard your voice loud and clear, and my Administration is committed to be:-
• A Government that keeps and honours its word,
• A Government that creates more opportunities for all the People of Kenya;
• A Government that addresses the societal pressures that our People encounter every day,
• A Government that enables each and every Citizen to pursue their dreams and passions,
• A Government that fosters unity, inclusion and nationhood,
• A Government that bakes a national cake big enough for all; and shares it equitably and without favour.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Ours is a Government of Kusema na Kutenda. I made a pledge to lead our nation on a path to national renewal and transformation.
I am spearheading the implementation of the most ambitious vision for a better Kenya ever formulated for our Nation, espoused as the “Big Four Agenda”, which is: — a decent roof over many more heads at affordable costs, affordable healthcare for all, value addition and increase in manufacturing and jobs, and ensuring food security for all Kenyans.
Today, here in Eldoret we are taking a bold step in answer to our pledge to you.
We are laying an additional brick to the realization of our commitment to create more opportunities for our People. Today, we move even closer to accelerating the expansion of our national cake through the manufacturing sector, as we cement our place of pride in the community of nations.
The Industrial Complex that we are inaugurating today manifests the possibilities within our borders and the true value of strategic partnerships with our international partners.
We thank the Government of India for walking this journey with us and for her unwavering support, which has covered a multitude of sectors including access to new technology and training.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, we celebrate not just the present monumental investment in this Project to the tune of nearly Ksh. 5 Billion, but also the impact of this initiative in supporting the country’s socio-economic renewal.
The estimated 3,000 direct jobs that this Project will generate, and the tens of thousands of indirect jobs created in support and ancillary activities, will go a long way to boosting not just this Region, but also our National Quest for Value Addition and Increase in Manufacturing and Jobs under the Big Four.
There is no doubt, this investment in Rivatex rekindles hopes and revives dreams by ushering in a new dawn for Cotton Farmers. Here lies a possibility of 10,000 jobs.
I call on all County Governments to support our Farmers by providing them with all the assistance they require at the local level.
On our part as National Government, we will continue to improve policy conditions and ease-of-operations for farmers, while at the same time delivering on direct interventions that make inputs, operations and support activities, cheaper; and also direct interventions that enhance productivity and market access.
In regard to cotton, I am aware that we are at an advanced stage of National Performance Trials for Bio-Technology Cotton (BT-Cotton), which would give better yields and returns to our Farmers compared with conventional cotton.
Production of BT-Cotton will undoubtedly boost production for our textile industry and create more sustainable livelihoods.
In this regard, I, therefore, direct the Ministries responsible for Agriculture, Industry, Environment, Health and Education to fast-track the steps remaining towards the approval for commercialization of Bio-Technology Cotton.
We have put measures in place for Rivatex to support our farmers and ginners by creating a ready market and guaranteed stable price for their seed cotton and cotton lint. Wakulima Wa Pamba – let’s get to work. Kazi Iko, Soko Ziko, Faida Kubwa Ziko. Sasa tuende kazi Rivertex ndiyo hiyo…
Rivatex alone assures our farmers at least 100,000 Bales of Lint per year. With estimated consumption of other textiles mills, we project a demand of over 140,000 Bales of Lint per annum, not including export possibilities.
Under the Buy Kenya Build Kenya Policy, we have implemented reforms that embrace our Kenyan Brands. Rivatex is already making fabrics for our Uniformed Forces, schools, hospitals and supplying to the general public, popular clothing such as Kitenges and Khangas.
Other local Industries such as Thika Clothing Mills, Bedi Investments and Ken Knit are now revamped to capitalize on the Buy Kenya Build Kenya Initiative.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Government is not the only consumer of your goods. It is critical that our textile mills produce good quality goods as demanded by both the local and international private sector players; goods that meet international standards.
I, therefore, today challenge the Management of Rivatex to ensure that they endeavor to produce the highest quality of products possible, so that Rivatex can compete with products from other parts of the world.
As a company, you must continue to invest in new innovations and diversifications of products in order to satisfy emerging markets. I especially challenge you to produce fabric that can be utilized by our investors in the Export Processing Zones, who still rely heavily on imports.
Today, we realize only a fraction of the potential value from the clothes we export to the United States. Rivatex will play a vital role by supplying finished fabrics to this market, localizing supply chains and ensuring greater value retention in our country.
We are now attracting more investors into the textile industrial sheds we have established in Athi River and other hubs. Towards this, we target to train more than 50,000 youths and women to provide skilled labour to be involved in these textiles sector.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Kenyan fashion industry is becoming ever more vibrant by the day, as evidenced by some of our designers gaining recognition at global fashion events, including the Cannes Festival and the Dakar Fashion Week.
I am encouraged by the vibrancy of this sector and our small and medium enterprises that are producing beautiful homegrown alternatives to imported clothing and textiles.
My Government will continue to support the integration of SMEs into the apparel sector by setting up Common Production Facilities to boost the production capacities for locally produced apparel. The expansion will create an organic and sustainable demand for the textiles produced by Rivatex and other local manufacturers.
As you are aware, the EAC Region resolved the gradually phase out of imported 2nd hand clothing in order for us to give our people alternative products.
I encourage all of us to embrace these alternatives and expand the Buy Kenya Build Kenya initiatives beyond Government. We must create demand for our own products by actively consuming these products ourselves.
Towards this objective, let us encourage each other to proudly wear “Made in Kenya” garments. For Government to lead by example, I urge all public servants to wear at least one piece of apparel that is made in Kenya on Fridays.
I encourage the Private Sector to join Government in this “Made in Kenya Fridays Initiative” so that we may showcase what our local Apparel Industry has to offer.
I am particularly encouraged to see many Young Kenyans utilizing Social Media Platforms to sell unique and authentic Made in Kenya Apparel, Bags, Jewelry and other wearables.
My Administration will continue to improve the enabling business environment through continuous reforms that make it easier for Youth, Women and Persons Living with Disabilities to create, market and to earn from their talents.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today we launch two initiatives that are at both ends of Kenya’s Economic Spectrum. Cotton represents many decades of Kenyan agriculture and industry, while the Laptop Assembly Line established by the Moi University captures 21st Century Innovation and Enterprise.
I applaud Moi University for establishing a Laptop Assembly Line and also creating an industrial linkage, which is an important component in addressing the skills and capacity gaps in the ICT Manufacturing Industry.
I also note that the “Laptop Assembly Factory” successfully assembled teachers and learner’s devices under the Digital Literacy Programme; supporting a vital Government Programme and showcasing that we have local capacity to meet large demand.
To this end, my Administration has extended incentives to support the assembly and production of motherboards in Kenya. I expect that in the coming years we shall rely exclusively on Kenyan manufactured or assembled hardware for our computing hardware needs.
We also need to see an increase in local content development for computing. Software engineering and advances in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Virtual Reality provide immense opportunities for Young Persons in Kenya.
Moi University is strategically positioned to promote both hardware and software development in Kenya and I challenge other Universities to exploit their latent potential in research, design and manufacturing within the ICT sphere.
Finally, let me say, I look forward to the next big revolutionary hardware or software innovation being one that was created in Kenya; and I wish to assure the entire Sector, both academic and enterprises, of my Administration’s full support towards that end.
Let me also once again, congratulate Rivatex East Africa and Moi University for these momentous feats and wish them every success in their undertakings.
God Bless you! God Bless Kenya! Asanteni