Nearly Sh1 billion will be spent to set up an industrial park in Njiru as investors move to take advantage of vast empty land in the area and the easy access afforded by the Thika Superhighway and the newly constructed Eastern bypass.
The Eastern Industrial Park will sit on 200 acres about two kilometres from the bypass and 10km from the highway. It could provide the first serious attempt to establish an alternative industrial base to the congested Industrial Area.
The Sh950 million project proposed by Abacus Property Consultants Ltd together with a consortium of local and international investors is expected to lay the basic infrastructure on the land that will then be subdivided and the plots sold to investors.
“Investors in the park will purchase serviced plots that will be sub-divided into plots ranging from 1-5 acres for development according to their own needs and in line with specific factory specification and designs,” says the environmental impact assessment report on the project.
The park is mainly expected to feature heavy and light industries, manufacturing plants and wholesale distribution outlets. Also to be set up are support enterprises like banks, shopping centres and retail outlets.
The initial set up will involve development of core infrastructure including roads, water, power, street lighting, a waste water treatment plant and a perimeter fence, with the park having only one entrance.
According to the development brief, the park is expected to host as many as 500 enterprises employing about 20,000 people.
“We expect that the majority of manufacturers in the park will target the export markets in the region, Europe, America and Asia,” adds the report, an indicator that the owners may later seek to convert it to a special economic zone that will enjoy multiple benefits including tax breaks.
The project has received the green light from the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) although each of the industries to be set up will be required to seek individual approval and permits.
The development model of selling serviced plots to investors is becoming popular with the government already planning to lease plots in Konza Techno City.
The basic rationale is to enable industrialists develop the plots which together with plant and equipment can be used as collateral for banking financing.