Principal Secretary in the State Department for Industry and Enterprise Development Julius Korir (in red tie) inspect equipment installed at the Sh1.4 billion Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute in Kisumu which will soon be available for use by artisans.
The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Trade is developing a business model that will enable Jua Kali artisans in Kisumu have access to equipment and machines at the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) western regional centre in Kisumu.
Industry and Enterprise Development Principal Secretary Julius Korir said this will be done in collaboration with the County Government of Kisumu. “The sector is the fastest growing business segment of the Kenyan economy creating employment to more than 11 million workers,” he said while addressing artisans in Kisumu on Wednesday.
He assured artisans that the Ministry is committed to improving their work environment and had put in place structures and systems to dignify and improve public perception of jobs in the sector.
“It should not be seen as a place for hustlers but a dignified place to work in,” Mr Korir pointed out, noting that the sector had graduates from university, technical colleges and secondary schools who were all engaged in various skills, earning honest living and contributing to national development.
The PS was accompanied by Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma and Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry National Chairman Kiprono Kittony.
Mr Korir said the Government will partner with institutions that equip artisans with machinery to enable them improve quality of their products and services. The county government will help put up appropriate structures in identified locations within Kisumu town.
The principal secretary announced that the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Trade had embarked on implementing a road map that would improve Kenya’s industrial sector whose key pillar is transforming the small and micro enterprise sector. “We intend to put up and equip common manufacturing facilities for the informal sector across the country and here is where we shall begin by working closely with your leadership and the county government,” he told the hundreds of representatives who attended the meeting yesterday.
He informed artisans that the KIRDI Centre in Kisumu had been equipped with the latest technology for production of leather goods and could produce 100 pairs of world class shoes per day and over 10,000 belts amongst other quality leather products.
The centre also has an agro processing facility and equipment for the energy and engineering facility which would soon be accessible for the artisans, PS Korir told them.
Governor Ranguma said his office would work closely with artisan’s leadership to ensure that their needs are addressed and their working environment improved. He said the county will also sign a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry, through the KIRDI Western regional centre in Kisumu, for skills development to the artisans.
Mr Kittony urged the Government to fast-track the creation of a Jua Kali Park in Kisumu that would serve as a one stop centre encompassing buying, selling as well as training of the artisans.
He observed that the Kisumu Jua Kali sheds produce innovative products and called upon the Ministry of Industrialisation to help the artisans access to existing Government financing and manufacturing schemes to upgrade skills and product development.