The Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) has recorded an increase in exports, which grew by 17.6 per cent last year to stand at Sh71 billion.
Authority chairman Paul Gicheru says at the end of 2018, capital investment in form of equipment, machinery and other funds invested by the EPZ companies stood at Sh75 billion.
“The cumulative value of investment stood at Sh97 billion, total sales stood at Sh76 billion and expenditure on local goods and services increased by 3.8 per cent to stand at Sh28 billion,” says Mr Gicheru in a report.
He adds that at the end of 2018, an average of Sh2 billion had been injected monthly into the local economy by the EPZs.
“These resources stimulate growth in the local economy as they are expended to the payment of local workers’ salaries, local supply of inputs, consumables, electricity, telecommunication, water, rent and transportation among others. These expenditures explain growth in areas surrounding EPZ zones in their respective geographic locations,” adds the chairman in the report.
Gicheru says the authority being a facilitator of investments is a primary driver of Kenya’s Big 4 Agenda.
“Under the manufacturing pillar, the EPZ investors offer a diverse product range diversifying Kenya’s export and import portfolio resulting in thousands of jobs and skills transfer to the Kenyan populace. This is through direct employment in the EPZ companies and backward linkages supporting the entire value chain of the various product profiles on offer in the different EPZ companies,” states Mr Gicheru.
EPZ companies support the food security and nutrition pillar of the Big Four Agenda as they provide a ready and consistent market for farmers across the country which market and interaction with farmers is clearly defined and regulated.
The authority, which is a state corporation was established following the enactment of the Export Processing Zones Act Chapter 517 Laws of Kenya with the objective of promoting and facilitating export-oriented investments.
EPZ companies are offered incentives in the form of various tax exemptions, exemptions from certain licences and regulatory permits.
These incentives include; 10-year corporate income tax holiday and a 25 per cent tax rate for a further 10 years thereafter 10-year withholding tax holiday on dividends and other remittances to non-resident parties, perpetual exemption from VAT and customs import duty on imported inputs — raw materials, machinery, office equipment, certain petroleum fuel for boilers and generators, building materials, other supplies.