, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 7 – The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) wants aspiring gubernatorial candidates to submit their manifestos detailing how they intend to enhance competitiveness of the manufacturing sector.
KAM says the plan should explain how to raise the country’s regional market share through the development of niche products for existing and emerging markets.
CEO Betty Maina explained they are interrogating the aspirants on their manifestos so that the business community can get some direction what to expect in the next county governments.
“We call upon all those aspiring for leadership at the national and county levels to urgently put in place the plans and team that will address the various challenges we’re facing,” she said.
“They need to create a conducive environment for doing business by building a strong and winning economy. Such businesses and enterprises will be partners to government in the creation of desired wealth and employment,” she added.
Debates by aspirants vying to become Governor in Nairobi and Mombasa have already taken place, but the final five debates will be held in Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu, Athi River and Central Kenya with all aspiring governors participating.
Maina said that the business community presented a list of issues to the aspirants that companies would like to see addressed by the aspiring governors.
“Businesses would like to know how the governors will tackle land issues and there are also concerns over the availability of land for investment and the need for business zoning in Nairobi,” she said.
“The other issue that has been hurting business are the high levies that companies are being charged. The industry would like the aspiring governors to make it less taxing to pay taxes and levies, as well having a one stop shop for business licensing and new investments,” she added.
Other issues presented by the corporate sector include; enhanced security in Nairobi, infrastructure issues covering roads, commuter rail transport, improved and enhanced high capacity transport and the provision of water and drainage services.
KAM has highlighted issues of security in Nairobi which were pinching businesses and Maina emphasised that it is important for the governors to let the business community know what the governors are planning in terms of enhancing security because it’s become such a huge issue.
“Governance and anti-corruption with an emphasis on bringing an end to land grabbing and integrity in public procurement are important issues we want aspirants to discuss. Nairobi residents would like to see sound and better management practices by the next chief executive of the city,” she said.
“We have gone beyond just voting people in for the sake of their propaganda, it is high time we give our votes to people who have the interests of the nation at heart and are willing to work for the good of the economy. The business community is pro leaders who will move the economy forward,” she emphasised.
She explained that local manufacturers have challenged all political aspirants to source locally and promote the country’s industries, in order to balance revenue collection and giving incentives to businesses in order to boost production.
Maina noted that recent growth in Kenya has been driven largely by the private sector, mostly through private consumption and exports – but explained that investment rates still remain low partly because returns are not lucrative due to high costs of doing business.
“The net impact of these costs are reduced sales or high total production costs, which makes goods and services produced in Kenya uncompetitive,” she said.
Maina explained that KAM’s vision for the manufacturing sector is to develop a robust, diversified and competitive manufacturing market.
“The overall goal for the manufacturing sector is to increase its contribution to GDP by at least 10 percent per annum, so an outward oriented trade policy that promotes exports, a secure investment climate and better infrastructure are key to achieving sustained growth in industry,” she said.
At the debate held in Nairobi, aspiring governors were interrogated on their business manifestos so that the business community could get some direction as to what to expect in the next county governments.
All aspiring governors were invited to the debate but only Philip Kisia and Evans Kidero attended.
Kidero said that he will focus his efforts as Nairobi Governor on issues of security and waste management.
“We will need to organise and look at how to business in terms of security, including security for small businesses the majority of which do not have any insurance and if they are robbed that greatly affects their continuity,” he added.
Kisia on the other hand said he intends to build on what he started when he was working at the City Council of Nairobi and also shared a 10-point agenda which included security, jobs, solid waste management, water and sanitation public transport, infrastructure, housing, public health, education and service delivery.
“I would also be calling on the private sector to invest in housing in the county to alleviate housing challenges,” he said.
Kisia also mentioned that he would take back land from anyone who acquired it illegally.
The KAM chief executive emphasised that to help industrial development and the Kenyan economy, the incoming government should not only adopt all the proposals by the association, but also set out a programme within 100 days of entry into office of the path they intend to take in implementing their presidential agendas.
The next debate will be held on February 11 in Mombasa. The debates in Nakuru, Kisumu, Athi River, Eldoret and Central Kenya will take place on February 14, 18, 19, 20 and 22 respectively.