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 had been initially 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. The company will manufacture small arms for five years before scaling up to light arms.
So far, Ksh4 billion has been spent on the facility which is expected to churn out over 1,000 guns a month translating to 12,000 a year.
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.
The country also received M28 Skytruck planes from the United States which were part of a military aid package.