, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 28 – The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) have signed a two-year agreement that will see an extension of a financial grant to KAM.
The grant is aimed at supporting KAMs advocacy work in the area of Non Tariff Barriers, Standards and Counterfeits.
This is the second phase of TMEAs partnership with KAM for creating a better business environment for the industry and to enhance the manufacturing sector competitiveness in the region.
“TMEA’s keenness to support KAM has carved out a productive space for advocacy and engagement with the necessary sections of the government,” KAM CEO Phyllis Wakiaga said.
TMEA Kenya Country Director Dr Chris Kiptoo said the partnership will also help in engagement with the relevant authorities in a bid to address the challenges identified in the first phase of this partnership.
“We are looking into implementing advocacy campaigns especially related to Non-Tariff Barriers, Trade in Counterfeits, Anomalies in the Common External Tariff (CET) and access to trade and Market Information,” Kiptoo said.
The first phase of the project focused on building and evidence base for advocacy in the key priority areas identified by KAM which include tax reforms in Kenya, cost of quality compliance, Domestic non-tariff barriers affecting industry in Kenya, Constitutional issues affecting business, overlapping regulatory roles and the severity of counterfeits.
Wakiaga emphasized on the need for intervention in the areas manufacturers face challenges so as to ensure a competitive business environment is realised.
“Our manufacturing sector has remained stagnant at 11 percent of GDP over the past ten years. As a result, the number of formal jobs in manufacturing has grown at just 7 percent per year over the past four years. Our exports have stagnated at 15 percent of GDP, while imports have grown to 40 percent of GDP creating a trade imbalance. These gaps can only be closed by revitalizing our industrial sector,” Wakiaga noted.
She cited the recently signed Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement saying KAM is keen in ensuring that global competitiveness is achieved.
“For global integration to deliver we need to ensure that regional integration within the EAC is working and thus strengthening of the EAC will be key.”
Most of the recommendations made by KAM out of the first phase of this project were taken up by government. These included recommendations on the VAT act and Non Tariff Barriers that saw eight institutions come on board as signatories to the Mombasa Port Charter. We have also seen a lot of interagency collaboration in the fight against counterfeits.
KAM Manufacturing Priority Agenda 2014 identified trade hindrances, unfriendly tax regimes and proliferation of counterfeit goods as some of the areas that contribute to the increased cost of doing business and lead to the reduction of regional trade.