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EPZ firms upbeat as global markets reopen

Companies operating at the Athi River Export Processing Zone (EPZ) are now eyeing global markets as negative effects of Covid-19 begin to subside. 

In the last six months, the textile industry bore the brunt of the pandemic, with most local companies opting for the local market and manufacture of personal protective equipment.

EPZ Authority Chairman Paul Gicheru said the global market is opening up steadily, saying firms are receiving constant orders from US and Europe.

He said the positive trajectory has seen some of the companies that had laid off workers recall them to provide much-needed human capital.

“Most of the EPZ companies are now eyeing the global market. The market is constant and they are able to sell in large volumes with better profit margins. We are expecting a double digit growth in garment export in the next six months,” Mr Gicheru said.

Eyeing expansion

He said the authority is eyeing expansion to boost the local manufacturing sector.

“EPZ is eyeing expansion of the industrial zones to various counties across the country. We have already reviewed the law to allow the private sector set such special zones. We are also encouraging local companies to engage in value addition of their products to reap maximum benefits in the global market,” he added.

A spot check within Athi River EPZ zone indicates that the authority has dealt with the water problem, ensuring constant supply to more than 18 companies.

New Wide Garment General Manager Ludoff Isinga said the company is operating at 70 per cent capacity, with international orders now trickling in. The firm has more than 6,000 workers.

“It is hard for our company to sell garments in the local market without government tax waiver…We are optimistic we will be able to go back to full production soon,” said Mr Isinga.

In March, the government temporarily lifted the restriction that compelled EPZs to sell only 20 per cent of their annual production in the local market to cushion them from Covid 19 effects.

Read the Original Article on Nation Africa