Kenyan investors and traders have been encouraged to seize the immense market opportunities presented by the East African Community (EAC) region to expand their businesses.
East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) MP Maina Karobia is in particular appealing to manufacturers to target the 300 million population of the EAC member countries in marketing their wares.
Speaking during the opening of the new Grand Maria Industrial Park in Thika, Kiambu County, the legislator said the regional assembly has enacted laws that make it easy for member states to do business.
Karobia spoke as local industrialists asked the government to intervene and remove bottlenecks that threaten to derail their operations including unavailability or unfair distribution of raw materials.
James Kamau, one of the directors of the new Industrial Park based in Thika’s Ngoingwa Estate said scarcity of ethanol which is the main ingredient in production of alcoholic beverages was a major challenge.
The EAC, consisting of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan, offers a sizable consumer base and a framework for regional economic integration, making it an attractive market for Kenyan businesses.
Another industrialist, Bimal Shah also expressed concern over delays in approval of building plans by the Kiambu County government.
Earlier, Karobia said manufacturers of hygienic and lawful alcoholic drinks should be protected from manufacturers of illicit brews who flood the market with dangerous products and deny the government revenue.
Local businessmen led by Gloria Kamau welcomed the new industrial park saying it offers job and business opportunities for hundreds of youths and asked the government to tighten the noose on importers of counterfeit goods.
Isaac Waititu, the Project Manager for Grand Maria Park, said the new industrial zone sets the pace for Thika to transform to City status and is easily accessible from Nairobi and other urban areas.
Grand Maria Business Park which hosts four factories in its premises joins three other industries that have been set up along Thika-Magumu road, 3 Kilometers from Thika Superhighway.
The establishment of new industries in Thika marks an important step in the town’s transformation towards becoming an industrial city.
Thika, known as the “Birmingham of Kenya” in the past, has had a history of industrial development and is now poised to build on that legacy.