, NAIROBI Kenya, Jul 12 – The Kenya Association of Manufacturers has raised objections to a planned trip by Members of Parliament to shop for furniture in China for their offices.
The association wants the National Assembly to source for the furniture from local manufacturers.
Kenya Association of Manufacturers Chief Executive Officers Betty Maina deplored the move saying that Parliament had a duty to create local jobs and expand the economy.
By buying Chinese furniture, Maina said, the Members of Parliament will be undermining efforts to boost local products.
She noted that the country has the capacity to make good furniture saying the manufacturing sector will not create jobs if everything is imported.
“By buying Chinese furniture, our MPs are undermining our efforts to boost local products. Kenya has the capacity to make good furniture. We expect the manufacturing sector to create jobs but if we keep importing goods that can be locally made we will kill local industries,” she said.
The move to shop in China comes barely a month after the Cabinet Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Rotich, read the budget statement and promised to give exclusive preference to firms making furniture locally in the buy Kenya, build Kenya initiative.
“Public entities have taken to flouting our public procurement laws and manufacturers are the victims. This is a flagrant transgression of a law passed by MPs themselves and they are setting a bad example to other government agencies,” Maina added.
National government procurement is very lucrative taking up 45pc of the national budget. If a large proportion of this money was spent locally, it would contribute to the growth of the industrial sector.
Maina also took up the issue with the revision of the procurement law and asked that in order to encourage the purchase of local goods, a proper definition of terms such as ‘local contractor’ and ‘citizen contractor’ be done so that emphasis is laid on the origin of the goods, not just on the person or the contractor.
“There are a lot of grey areas. For example, regulation 12 of the Public Procurement and Disposal Regulation on Preferences and Reservations accords goods manufactured in Kenya 100pc exclusive preference over imported goods in the procurement process but so far this has been ignored due to the loopholes.” she added.
Maina highlighted sectors that would thrive if procurement was operationalised.
“Three years ago there were 42 local manufacturers of pharmaceutical products and now only 28 remain. 14 manufacturers have shut down due problems with procurement, yet we could become a regional hub for pharmaceutical drugs,” she said.
She pointed out that the manufacturing sector is the country’s backbone and if this sector is not well supported the country stands to lose a lot of revenue and millions of jobs will be at stake.