BY KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI,30TH JUNE,2022-United Democratic Alliance (UDA) presidential candidate William Ruto has hit out at the country’s small arms factory in Ruiru, Kiambu County saying it does not make economic sense.
While questioning the sense of investing Ksh.4 billion in a factory that would only create 100 jobs, the Deputy President said it would have been better to build garment factories that cost less and employ more people.
“We have recently inaugurated a firearms factory that cost Ksh.4 billion and celebrated the fact that it will create 100 or so jobs. This works out to an investment of Ksh.40 million per job,” he said in his Kenya Kwanza coalition manifesto launch.
“In the same country, the County Government of Kitui established a garment factory with a capacity for 600 jobs at a cost of Ksh.168 million, Ksh.280,000 per job. The Ksh.4 billion gun factory investment is the equivalent of 24 Kitui garment factories and 14,000 jobs.”
President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Ksh.4 billion factory, with a single-shift annual production capacity of 12,000 assault rifles in April last year.
The president said it will lower the cost of acquiring weapons for Kenya’s security agencies and establish a sustainable national security industrial base that provides jobs for the Kenyan youth.
Dr. Ruto, speaking at Kasarani Stadium on Thursday evening during the launch of his party manifesto, said that the country’s economic model is “fatally flawed” and wondered why no government has moved to sort it.
“The question is why we have stayed on this path, why the government did not heed its own clarion call to restructure the economy, why we would choose to manufacture guns rather than garments,” questioned Ruto.
The UDA party honcho was drumming support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) saying they are an integral part of the economy.
“The Kenyan workforce is now in the order of 19 million people. Of these, just under three million, only 15 percent work in formal jobs in both public and private sector, with private sector employing two million and public sector just under 900,000. The other 16 million (85 percent) work in micro and small enterprises (MSMEs) both formal and informal,” he said.
“According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data in 2016, licensed stable MSMEs generated an operating surplus of Ksh.50,000 per employee a month, while those in the “lottery” economy generated Ksh.3,250. In other words, the workers in formal MSMEs were 15 times more productive than those in the lottery economy.”