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State opens doors for synthetic fabric manufacturers


State opens doors for synthetic fabric manufacturers

Friday September 29 2023

Workers make garments at Rivatex East Africa Limited in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu. FILE PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG

The government is seeking to contract private firms to manufacture synthetic fabrics locally targeting both Kenyan and export markets as it seeks to cut reliance on imports.

Textile firms operating in the country currently import all of their synthetic fabrics, particularly from East Asian countries as the country lacks textile mills to produce fabrics to the required quantity and quality, especially for the export market.

Read: Textiles in tough times as EAC proposes top taxes

The Ministry of Investments, Trade, and Industry has invited manufacturers to express interest in manufacturing synthetic fabrics for the textile and apparel subsector in Kenya.

In contrast to organic fabrics which are made from organic materials such as cotton, wool, silk, and linen, synthetic fabrics are made from petrochemicals.

“In the recent past, there have been efforts by both government and private sector to promote cotton growing with a view to addressing the shortage of cotton lint. However, there is a need to promote the manufacture of synthetic fabrics which form a huge part of raw materials for both domestic and export markets,” said the ministry in a notice.

Most textile firms operate from within the export processing zones (EPZ) where they enjoy preferential tax rates. The total consumption of fabric in the country is estimated to be 100 million metres per year.

Kenya generates over $500 million (Sh73.9 billion) annually from exports of textiles and apparel which account for about 30 percent of total industrial export growth.

The ministry said successful bidders will be allowed to join the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) or EPZ programme to enjoy different incentives offered by the government.

Read: Textile export earnings rise by Sh8 billion

Production of textiles shrunk by 3.3 percent in 2022 mainly attributed to the decrease of 4.2 and six percent in quantities of produced woven fabric and knitting yarn of wool respectively.

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