Webuye Town roars back to life as Pan Paper resumes work

Earlier, political leaders affiliated to CORD termed the project a political game for August polls.

 

December last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta led a much hyped grand reopening of the paper-manufacturing factory, promising to give life to Webuye Town, which has been dormant since the factory went under eight years ago.

Area leaders, as well as disgruntled residents from Western Kenya, have repeatedly accused the Jubilee Government of using the project as a political gimmick for August polls.

Uhuru has been accused of using the multi-million project to hoodwink electorates to vote him back to State House in the coming polls.

On their part, however, the factory management has attributed the long delay to massive repairs required before real production could commence.

“We had quality problems and we have rectified all of them. The roof sheeting was completely damaged, we have removed that old asbestos roofing sheeting for so many sections and we are fixing new Mabati sheeting,” said the company’s managing Director.

He told the press on Thursday that the company is currently fully running one out of the four productions lines and is expecting to revive the factory to full capacity in one year’s time.

“Right now we are producing brown paper. In that brown paper different kinds of qualities are there,” he said.

Brown paper, which is majorly produced through cycling, is commonly used in industrial packaging of goods.

Bungoma County Governor Ken Lusaka on his part, faulted opposition political leaders of discrediting the government for the revival of the factory.

In his argument, Lusaka said that the factory has so far employed 400 workers in the already functioning cycling section and is set to hire another 2000 when it resumes processing on full capacity.

“We want to tell those who are in doubt that let them look for something else to talk about. I think what they should be asking about the gratuity promised to the people of this area because that is what is important,” Governor Lusaka said.

Lusaka disclosed that the plant halted business shortly after reopening due to serious vandalism of company property that had taken place and rusty machines.

“Pan Paper had been down for more than nine years and therefore there have been renovations that had been going on and we had a serious vandalism of the water pipes,” Lusaka clarified.

Lusaka has hinted that the National Treasury is currently finalizing on plans to have the former employees compensated.

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