NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 13 – The constant bad press on high level corruption in the government is ruining Kenya’s reputation as a viable investment destination.
Trade Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said on Tuesday that the situation was hampering attraction of new investors in these times of a global economic meltdown and a depressed local economy.
“If a country is consistently in the media over high level corruption nobody will put their money in that country which then ultimately affects Kenya as an investment destination and also affects our ability to provide jobs to our youth,” Mr Kenyatta said.
Speaking after a meeting with the Chinese Commerce Minister Cheng Deming, the Deputy Prime Minister said some of the issues discussed with the visiting delegation include bridging the trade imbalance between Kenya and China.
”The trade imbalance between our two countries is greatly in favour of China, and there was indeed recognition from our Chinese friends that that is a situation that needs to be rectified,” he said.
The Minister said the two countries had among other things agreed that China would use Kenya as a manufacturing base for export to other countries including China itself adding that the issue of counterfeits was also discussed.
During the meeting the Chinese delegation further expressed interest in investing in the local cement industry, titanium mining and in infrastructure.
Meanwhile Mr Kenyatta is calling for immediate investigations into the alleged corruption that has resulted in the maize shortage being experienced in the country.
He said that stern action should be taken on any individuals found to be involved in the scam.
“We cannot be playing with the lives of Kenyans. If indeed the allegations that have come through are found to be true, that is a crime that cannot be forgiven in the face of the famine that this country is already facing,” he said.
Mr Kenyatta however expressed concern on the lack of collective responsibility among Cabinet Ministers adding that it was wrong for Ministers to express their differences in public through the media instead of consulting each other.
“Ultimately when you are in one government, you must behave and you must operate as one government, and I must state that what I sometimes find very sad is that you will find people who are saying they are in one government but they speak as if they are outside the government.”
Mr Kenyatta further pointed out that there are systems and structures that are laid out within which government officials are supposed to use even when they are in disagreement.