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Leather equipment meant for Kariokor market still in storage

MANUFACTURING: Equipment worth Sh90 million earmarked for mechanising operations at Kenya’s biggest leather products market –Kariokor are still lying idle due to lack of space by targeted small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

During the launch of the Leather Apex Society of Kenya (LASK) Industrialisation principal secretary Betty Maina said Government acquired the equipment but it is yet to be released as cobblers lack adequate space to place the machinery.

“In 2016, the government acquired equipments to facilitate quality and competitive production and competitiveness of leather products. However, I am yet to get credible feedback from shoemakers on the progress they have made in securing an expansive space for placement of the equipments,” said Maina.

LASK secretary general Beatrice Mwasi said even though it is the largest informal market with 300 leather workshops Kariokor market lacks modern manufacturing infrastructure.

Two years ago, the government procured machines worth Sh90 million for the cobblers who operate at Kariokor but the equipments are still stored in government premises.

Cobblers Association of Kenya spokesman Peter Kitheka says lack of adequate space led to delay in release of the machines.

“If given the machines, we will be able to increase our production and thus be able to expand the market both locally and in the region,” said Kitheka.

Maina said, once fully operational, Kariokor market will create an additional 10,000 direct and indirect jobs and contribute to increased incomes of up to Sh60 billion annually.

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