Steel tycoon Narendra Raval, widely known as Guru, has attributed the delays in inaugurating the West Pokot Cement plant to utility company Kenya Power.

Originally scheduled for an August opening, Mr Raval points out that power connectivity has proven to be the primary hurdle in commencing operations at the highly anticipated cement facility in West Pokot County.

Mr Raval, who chairs the Devki Group of companies, confirmed that all preparations on-site have been completed, except for the power supply.

Uganda’s $600m Clinker Plant Dwarfs Devki Simba Cement 

“We are awaiting Kenya Power to complete the connection; everything is ready, and we are eager to commence,” Mr Raval told Business Day Africa.

He, however, said that the Kenya Power personnel are now on-site, and their work is expected to conclude next month.

“They will wrap up the work in October, we plan to initiate trials at the end of October, and by November 10, we should be in full production,” he stated.

Mr Raval lamented that these delays have put a pause on the creation of numerous job opportunities that would have arisen from the plant’s inauguration.

According to him, the plant will directly employ a minimum of 2,000 individuals.

Once operational, the West Pokot plant will become Kenya’s second-largest, trailing his other cement production factory in Emali, which currently produces 3.5 tonnes of clinker annually.

Mr. Raval believes that this additional capacity in Kenya holds the potential to reduce the cost of cement, from the current Ksh650 for a 50-kilo bag to Ksh500.

The commencement of the West Pokot plant would solidify Devki’s position as one of the largest clinker producers in East Africa, boasting a total production of 7.5 million tonnes from its three factories.

However, Uganda recently inaugurated a new $600 million clinker plant, posing a challenge to Simba Cement’s regional dominance and potentially limiting its ability to sell its products in Kampala.

Simba Cement had previously announced long-term contracts to export up to $192 million worth of clinker to neighboring countries annually, with a specific focus on markets in Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi due to the proximity of the new plant to these nations.