Webuye residents have welcomed the news of the reopening of the Pan Paper Mills which was announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday .
Herman Kasili, director chamber of commerce Bungoma county, said that the move was long overdue.
He said the revival of the factory will go a long way in bringing back life to Webuye town.
Pan paper was closed in 2008 after its electricity bills accumulated to more than Sh500 million while under some Indian investors who later fled.
A new investor, the Rai family who run Raiply and Timsales Ltd, is said to have aqcuired the firm and is ready to pump Sh6 billion to rev it back.
The mill had been placed under receivership and efforts to have it revamped have always been futile over what residents blamed on political interference.
‘’When the factory is revived, the first priority should be given to the former workers who have been suffering since the closure of the mill,’’ said Kasili.
He said that the lot has since been forced to do causal jobs in people’s farm, sand harvesting, and selling mandazis to eke a living.
The chamber official said that some of them have had their children drop out of school while others have died due to stress following the closure.
Kasili urged the government, through the new investor, to settle debts owed to the former workers.
He said security in the area will also improve.
Former Webuye MP Musikari Kombo said residents who depended on the factory will now live decently.
He wants Bungoma County residents to be given first priority in the job opportunities presented by the development.
Speaking to the star on phone Kombo thanked Uhuru for his commitment to see the factory back to its feet.
‘’We want western residents to reciprocate and show the same favor back when it comes to the next polls by voting overwhelm for him (Uhuru),’’ he said.
Webuye East MP Alfred Sambu said the economic status of the western region will equally improve.
Stephen Watiti, a former worker at the plant, said the announced should not just be a mere political game.
He said that people of Webuye have lived a miserable life and by Pan Paper being revived, the youths who have been forced to go to other towns to look for jobs can now return home.
Source : the-star.co.ke