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Rivatex modernization unveiled

Rivatex Modernization 5

Rivatex Managing Director Prof. Thomas Kipkurgat (4th L) conferring with India High Commissioner to Kenya H.E Suchitra Durai (2ND R), Principal Secretary, Industry, Trade and Co-operatives, Ms. Betty Maina (3rd R) and Uasin-Gishu County Governor H.E Jackson Mandago (3rd L) during the unveiling of the factory’s modernization plan on Saturday July 7, 2018 at the factory premises in Eldoret town

 

The High Commissioner of India to Kenya H.E Suchitra Durai on Saturday July 7, 2018 commissioned modernization of Moi University-owned textile plant, Rivatex East Africa Limited, to spur production of textile products in the country and attract the global export market.

Rivatex Modernization 1The modernization exercise that kicked off this May is being financed by a Shs3 billion loan facility from the Exim Bank of India.

“This being an iconic factory, we have to ensure that the modernization work is done with precision. We hope that with modernization of Rivatex, it will be able to produce products worth its name,” said Ms. Durai at the Rivatex modernization progress ceremony held at the factory in Eldoret.

The increase in production of clothing items will be beneficial for local and export markets, and also meet the demand of the Export Processing Zone factories.

Rivatex is a textile manufacturing company wholly owned by Moi University for commercial and research purposes.

The firm’s Managing Director, Prof. Thomas Kipkurgat, said the upgrade will boost its complete value chain right from the farmer to the product in the market.

He noted that the company is partnering with counties across the country to revive growing of cotton in order to meet the huge demand for the raw materials that is being created with modernization of Rivatex.

Chairman of Rivatex Board of Directors who is also chairman of Moi University Council, Dr. Jeremiah Ntoloi Ole Koshal, reiterated that the modernization will not be complete without the campaign to sensitize farmers to grow more cotton.

“When I look at Rivatex today, it is no longer the small beginning. We have gone far. We are committed to ensure that Rivatex pays off the loan and begin to impact life,” said Dr. Koshal.

Uasin Gishu County Assembly Speaker, David Kiplagat, said the County was mulling over setting aside one of the Technical Training Institutes in the County to equip youth with specialized skills in textile industry specifically for Rivatex. Mr. Kiplagat was speaking on behalf of the County Governor H.E Jackson Mandago. He said the County Assembly is committed to passing relevant legislations that will help Rivatex reclaim it lost glory and make Eldoret a textile-based town once again.

Principal Secretary, Industry, Trade and Co-operatives, Ms. Betty Maina, said the rival of Rivatex is critical to the growth of Kenya’s economy. Ms. Maina acknowledged the great partnership and synergy in the Government ministries that resulted in Rivatex being granted the loan from Exim Bank of India.

She added that her Ministry is collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture to improve the varieties and value of cotton grown in Kenya.

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In order to open up new market for Rivatex, Ms. Maina committed to engage the army, police and other Government departments to sign contracts with the textile factory to supply them with uniforms. But to do this, she challenged Rivatex to focus on producing high quality products.

“The issue is not about the modern machinery that is being installed at Rivatex, but how you work. We must work as a private company. My challenge to the employees of Rivatex is that they don’t let Kenya down,” said Ms. Maina.

Principal Secretary for Basic Education, Dr. Belio Kipsang, said modernization of Rivatex is key to Moi University and making Kenya a knowledge-based economy.

He thanked Moi University for the foresight to buy and revive Rivatex. He noted that the Government may soon adopt a policy of same uniform in all primary and secondary schools in Kenya, which will call for a local supplier to meet the huge demand, urging Rivatex to ready itself for the challenge.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said manufacturing used to contribute over 13% of Kenya’s GDP but it slumped to 9%, noting the Government’s commitment to the Big Four Agenda to grow the manufacturing sector’s contribution to the GDP.

“We need to revive our factories and that is why we are investing heavily in the manufacturing sector. I want to challenge the business community in the country to take advantage of the favourable climate to invest in manufacturing,” said Mr. Rotich.

The CS added that countries that have industrialized relied on the textile sector, noting that Kenya is on the right path to industrialization with the revival of its textile industry.

Moi University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Kosgey, expressed Rivatex’s unwavering support of the Government’s Big Four Development Agenda. Prof. Kosgey said when Rivatex received the bilateral loan of US$29.95 million in 2016 from Exim Bank of India for the purchase of new machinery and refurbishment of the entire factory; it afforded its management a sigh of relief.

We highly appreciate the presence of the Indian High Commissioner to Kenya, H.E. Suchitra Durai, in today’s function. Your Excellence, we do not take the support for granted, and we promise to fully utilize it towards achieving the Government’s Big Four Development Agenda of making Kenya a manufacturing economy,” said Prof. Kosgey.

He added that modernization of Rivatex will see revival of cotton farming in the country and creation of more employment in the textile sector. Currently, the factory employs 600 people, but with full modernization, the factory will create more than 1,000 jobs directly and indirectly, hence providing a livelihood for more Kenyans, he noted.

“A modernized Rivatex will also provide a conducive avenue for training, research and extension for Moi University. Our Engineering students and Lecturers will be the biggest beneficiaries of the factory, in addition to providing attachment opportunities to the rest of the academia from across the country. This will further enhance student and staff exchange programmes in the fields of Aerospace, Engineering and Medicine,” said Prof. Kosgey.

The VC noted that modernization of Rivatex will further come along with the establishment of a Skills Development Centre at Moi University Main Campus in collaboration with Lakshmi Machine Works Limited (LMW). He said the Centre will boost the University’s Business Incubation Centre that seeks to nurture innovations from students and staff.

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