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Govt eyes jua kali products

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 12 – The government is in the process of identifying goods and services that it will purchase solely from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the future.

Industrialisation Permanent Secretary Professor John Lonyangapuo said on Monday that the move would be in line with Vision 2030 which seeks, among other things, to create job opportunities for the scores of unemployed people in the country.

“We want to identify what products we can preserve especially for SMEs to sell to government and (its) agencies, creating job opportunities for the many unemployed youth,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary (PS) was however concerned about the lack of certain policies that would allow SMEs to do business.

“Currently we don’t have a serious policy that gives guarantee for a bank to give loans to work with Jua Kali. There are so many people with bright ideas but cannot get their ideas off the ground due to lack of funds,” he lamented.

“We are however planning to work with India to give us an insight as to how they were able to convince banks to work with cottage industries creating a boom in that country.”

He was speaking during the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Kenya Industrial Estates and the Small and Medium Industries Corporation of India.

Some of the programmes envisaged in the MOU include technology transfer, provision of advisory services for SME development and conducting of industrial surveys to identify potential opportunities for SME development among other things.  

Indian PS for SMEs Dinesh Rai said he was pleased with the way Kenya was working towards streamlining the issue, but was concerned with certain areas.

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“Areas I would particularly like to see Kenya improve on and where India will offer advice and assistance on are capacity building, policy and institution framework setting up of training and incubation centres and skill development.”

Prof Lonyangapuo however clarified that his ministry would modify some of the ideas floated by India to suite Kenyan needs and availability of resources.

The partnership is as a result of the Kenya-India Joint Trade Committee signed in late 2008, enabling bilateral cooperation aimed at fostering development programs and trade between the two countries.

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