President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday, April 8, 2021 opened a new Ksh.4 billion Government factory for small arms in Ruiru, Kiambu County.
Speaking during the launching ceremony, the President said that the factory will help Kenya is seeking to enhance her self-reliance in security through local production of equipment and technologies.
The head of state noted that the arms factory will lower the cost of acquiring weapons for Kenya’s security agencies.
“This ground breaking initiative will allow us to lay the foundation for addressing the high cost of weapons acquisition, free us from the complex foreign export approval processes currently in place, provide Kenya with greater security sector independence and flexibility, and allow Kenya to design and produce high-quality weapons, customized to our unique needs and operating environments,” President Kenyatta said.
The president also commended the multi-agency security team overseeing the project for setting up the self-sustaining factory at a fraction of what the open market had proposed.
“I am also pleased to note that the diligence of our security organs has delivered this project well under budget, with the project having been completed at a cost of about Ksh.4 billion against private sector quotes of Ksh.15 billion, a saving of Ksh.11 billion,” the President said.
Through the arms factory, the President said Kenya plans to create a weapons manufacturing surplus that will transform the country into an exporter of security equipment.
“This will not only boost our balance of trade position, it will also create employment for thousands of Kenyans, in addition to creating a skills and technology environment that will drive transformation in civilian industries,” he said.
President Kenyatta said the Government’s decision to set up the arms factory was encouraged by Kenya’s success in the local manufacture of some of the equipment needed in the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As with pharmaceuticals, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and medical equipment generally; Kenya has identified a compelling urgency to create domestic production and this also applies to the security sector equipment in order to free our country from the vagaries of international supply chain systems,” the President said.
President Kenyatta encouraged the leadership of the the factory, which draws 60 percent of its input from local sources, to continue adhering to international best practices and standards so as to ensure that it runs optimally by tapping into foreign technologies and knowhow.
By so doing, the President said the company will be able to synergize and leverage on economies of scale, expand market access for its products, and create and protect local jobs.
“The company must continue to invest in research and development, skills and technology transfer, secure international sub-contracting, production under license, multinational co-development and co-production, and the use of intellectual property rights to secure designs and processes,” the President advised.