President Uhuru Kenyatta has welcomed China Communications and Construction Company’s pledge to partner with local companies to boost the steel manufacturing industry in the country.
Speaking Monday at State House Nairobi, when he met the Assistant President of China Road and Bridge Corporation Mr. Wen Gang, Uhuru said Kenya appreciated the support of the private sector in developing its infrastructure.
At the meeting which was also attended by Deputy President William Ruto, the President said the Jubilee Government attached great importance to improvement of infrastructure in its effort to grow the economy.
“We will always welcome projects that accelerate economic growth to create jobs for young Kenyans,” Uhuru said.
He said participation of local companies should be embraced in all projects implemented in the country by international companies.
The President commended the Chinese company for working with county governments in implementing the Standard Gauge Railway.
He said the Government is keen to see that Standard Gauge Railway project is completed on time, saying it will also anchor the establishment of the steel industry in Kenya.
Mr. Wen informed the President and his deputy that his company has already recruited 2,464 Kenyans for the initial work of the project.
He said his company will impart skills and transfer technology to the locals so as to help the country in the manufacture of components for the SGR project locally.
Mr. Wen added that at the peak of the project over 30,000 locals would have been employed directly while 40 % of the work would be sub-contracted to the local companies.
“We will continue recruiting local people to impart skills and also ensure transfer of technology,” he said.
Adding: “We will also continue engaging local suppliers especially from county governments to maximize on the locals and minimize on the Chinese experts.”
He said the Chinese Government attaches great importance to the project and his company will deliver quality work on time.
He added that so far 87 construction teams from China have arrived with over 2,000 pieces of equipment to ensure the project takes off by September.
Also in attendance were Cabinet Secretaries Eng. Michael Kamau, Henry Rotich, Joseph Ole Lenku, Prof. Judy Wakhungu and Charity Ngilu.