By Edna Mwende
Kenya’s Export Processing Zone (EPZ) companies in 2018 realized a 14.7 percent growth in their apparel sales.
The companies, according to the 2019 Economic Survey, registered sales worth Ksh.77.2 billion last year compared to Ksh.67.3 billion that was recorded in 2017.
The report attributed the increased sales to the companies’ increased market access to European nations and the US, especially for clothes facilitated under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) initiative.
Apparels made by EPZ companies under the initiative are exported to global retail companies such as JC Penney in the US, Walmat, Macy’s, Jones New York, Dollar General among others.
In the period under review EPZ companies were also responsible for creating jobs for Kenyans as clothing enterprises continued to dominate the processing zone space with 22 companies employing 46,248 out of the total 57,581 workers in the special zones while the number of local employees working under the enterprises similarly increased by four percent from 55,486 in 2017 to 56,945 in 2018.
Despite the companies managing to register only one new zone in 2018 the EPZ Authority has promised to reclaim undeveloped industrial land and this could set the stage for more processing based companies to set up shop in the country.
The authority in March warned firms that failed to develop their tracts of land in the last two years that they will have their leases terminated to facilitate re-allocation. The authority said this after the expiry of its grace period.