The Kenya Association of Manufacturers is calling on government to support the quarry sub-sector. The sector representative for lower eastern region Jeremiah Nzioki urged county authorities to back the quarry businesses to enable them achieve their potential.
Speaking at a media press briefing Mr. Nzioki, said, “The big four are an opportunity for the subsector especially building and construction as they expect more ballast orders in the future” The subsector works closely with KEBS to ensure the quality of stones and ballast meets the construction quality.
The lower eastern region comprises of Machakos, Kitui, and Kajiado counties, which has provided materials for infrastructural projects. Nzioki added, “for instance, we provided ballast for the SGR project from Mtito Andei to Syokimau,”
The subsector contributes to the GDP as they source the machinery locally from Komatsu and Caterpillar for easy access to spare parts. Furthermore, it provides direct employment to mechanics, excavator drivers and indirect to the thousands of trucks visiting the areas on a daily basis. On top of that, there are CSR projects with for instance the Katana area quarries in Syokimau providing road rehabilitation, borehole drilling thus providing free water to residents, and medical camps.
However, Mr. Nzioki highlighted some of the challenges hindering business growth such as poor security as most workers live far from the quarries thus limiting productivity as they work for a few hours. Moreover, the poor road network in the quarry areas has led to high operational costs due to wear and tear while poor roads limit accessibility by customers.
In recent years, there has been encroachment of the quarry areas. Mr. Nzioki urged county governments to ensure that zoning rules are followed. The representative also asked the County officials to impose dumping bans around quarries.