Inside Politics

EPZ investors refocus on global markets as Covid restrictions ease

Friday, October 9th, 2020 00:00 |
Workers at an Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory work on garments. Manufacturing units will have to implement Covid-19 measures on reopening.

EXPORTS: Athi River Export Processing (EPZ) companies are re-focusing attention on exports as majority of destinations around the world ease travel restrictions introduced in response to the coronavirus outbreak. 

EPZ Chairman Paul Gicheru said the global market is opening up steadily and companies under EPZ umbrella are receiving constant orders from US and Europe.

He said the positive trajectory has seen some of the companies that had laid off workers recalling them to provide the 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,” said Gicheru.

Textile industry

For seven months, the textile industry suffered the brunt of Covid-19 pandemic with local companies opting for Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for sustainability.

This followed a government directive in March that EPZ firms increase the portion of annual production sold in the local market from 20 to 100 per cent to cushion companies from Covid-19 effects.

However, most textiles are now focusing on exports as the global market continues to stabilise.

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

Local markets

“It is hard for our company to sell garments in local markets without government tax waiver.

Local market is not constant and sale volumes are low. We are optimistic we will be able to go back to full production soon,” he said.

At the same time, EPZ Authority is eyeing expansion to foster the much-needed growth in local manufacturing.

A new company dealing with Avocado value addition and export has recently opened doors in EPZ Athi River.

“EPZ is eyeing expansion of the industrial zones in various counties across the country.

We have already reviewed the law to allow private sector set such special zones.

We are also encouraging local companies for value addition of their products to reap maximum benefits in the global market,”he added.

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