The President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta has launched a new gun manufacturing factory in Ruiru.
The President was accompanied by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i to the National Security Industries in Ruiru, Kiambu County to commission the Small Arms Factory.
The project, which is valued at Ksh15 billion, is aimed at enhancing the country’s self reliance through local production of security equipment.
Upon arrival, the head of state was shown some of the equipment that would be manufactured at the institution.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said the ammunition plant shall manufacture small arms, with plans to expand to midrange firearm production in the next five years.
Kenyatta said the plant has already shipped 12,000 assault rifles.
The President said Kenya joined the arms-manufacturing trade to reduce importation costs, adding that the desire to locally produce ammunition customised for Kenyan security operations necessitated the project.
“We wish to also provide Kenya with sector security independence,” said Kenyatta.
The company will manufacture small arms for five years before scaling up to light arms.
The historical project is also expected to provide 100 direct employment and 1,100 indirect employment in form of supply of raw materials among other benefits.
The 12,000 Kenyan-made guns will reduce the country’s dependence on imported machinery by up to 60 per cent.
A representative close to the project noted that the company’s setup would shield the country from stiff competition experience by countries in trying to secure internationally manufactured weapons.
The project is also expected to save Kenyan taxpayers from the exorbitant importation of guns in the long run.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) 2019 Arms transfer database report (the latest available data), Kenya spent Ksh3.2 billion in its military activities.
Most of the funds were used in upgrading the country’s airpower.
Compared to other Eastern Africa countries, Kenya allocated the second most amount in its military sector after Ethiopia which spent Ksh7.1 billion.
In 2019, Kenya received three C-27J Spartan Transport aircraft from Italy that had been ordered in 2017 as well as two of the AW139 Helicopter ordered in 2018.