On the Joke that is Pan Paper revival!
Yesterday leaders from Bungoma County were excited at very good news; the news that pan paper will be revived. Hold your horses ladies and gentlemen, before you slit throats of cockerels in celebration, consider this:-
1. Not all statehouse promises are worthy being excited about. All delegations to statehouse come out with a bag of promises aimed to hoodwink people that their trip was worthy it. But in reality, the number of statehouse promises fulfilled is normally few
2. Thinking of reviving Pan Paper is not only pedestrian it is actually nonsensical. We do not have competitive capacity to produce paper that we can sell locally considering world prices for the same
3. Pan Paper as an area of focus is lack of foresight on the part of the leaders. A good industry is one that has enough economic linkages such that it stimulates the local economy in more than one way. Apart from employment, how else does pan paper stimulate growth of the local economy?
4. Talking of employment, are there any indications in terms of actual employment opportunities to be created? How many will be employed and after how long? Would another industry have created more and better employment opportunities
5. The statehouse delegation should have been strategic in their demands. For instance, a demand to build a state of the art milk processing plant that serves the entire of Western Kenya plus attendant infrastructure for milk production at household level would have had a more exciting ripple effect
6. A good industry is one that uses local raw materials, creates employment but also becomes a source of raw materials that locals can use for further innovative and entrepreneurial activities. Clearly, there are not trees in BC for the paper factory. very limited jobs can be created by the firm and very little of the factory's products and by-products have proved useful to the local enterprises
7. For each industry there are externalities i.e. the unintended effects on the local community. Pan Paper factory was an environmental hazard; I am not sure its economic benefits to the locals are more than its environmental degrading capacity
8. By selling the factory to Raiply, who gains and who looses. Is community or public land involved? Who will own the land after the sale? To whom does the sale money or value go? What ownership matrix is on the cards?