, NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 9 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed government ministries and parastatals to increase the amount of locally manufactured product that they purchase in order to build the manufacturing industry in the country.
Speaking during the official opening of the Kenya Association of Manufactures (KAM) House, the President said this will go a long way in establishing and maintaining a strong demand for local goods.
“I have given parastatals, and the ministries targets, and in the next meeting I want to see what percentage they have increased in buying of local products,” he said.
He said that there are a lot of goods that are imported, yet similar ones are manufactured locally and urged Kenyans to “buy Kenyan and build Kenya”.
President Kenyatta said the hovernment will continue working closely with the manufacturing sector and take their views into consideration as Kenya positions itself as a globally competitive industrial hub.
“The growth of the manufacturing sector has been the result of strong working relationship with the government. My government will sustain and strengthen that partnership,” he said.
On his part, KAM Chairman Pradeep Paunrana said that there needs to be policy stability in the country that include stable tax and tariff policies for the manufacturing sector to flourish.
“Do not allow our public servants to make policy changes midway without consulting industry and understanding the ramification of these changes. An example is the printing, packaging and converting industry which is currently suffering from a change in policy where duty on paper was increased from 10 percent to 25 percent just four months after the EAC Budget. This puts our Kenyan companies at a disadvantage in the local and EAC market,” he stated.
He urged the government to protect the local industry from unfair imports, illicit trade, fakes and counterfeit goods as well as fast track the harmonisation of the trade and tax policies within the East African Community (EAC).
Paunrana also urged the government to develop a Local Content Legislation for both public and private projects that will secure the gains for locally manufactured goods and services.
“The Procurement Law needs to give preference to locally manufactured products and services and this needs to be implemented as per the law. Large government contracts and infrastructure projects should specifically not allow duty free imports of steel, cement and other building materials that are manufactured locally,” he added.
The KAM House is an income generating asset for the organisation that will supplement the members’ contributions as well as grants from the government.
“For the last 10 years, we have also been grant recipient of funds intended to promote energy efficiency form the government of Kenya via the ministry of energy and also from energy utilities. Using this support we have supported industry to implement measures that have saved the country Sh10bn over 10 years, “ said Betty Maina, KAM CEO.
Maina said the building will be the Association’s national headquarters among other offices in seven other locations that include Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu, Thika , Athi River and Industrial Area.
The manufacturing sector contributes about 11.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) amounting to Sh540 billion to the Kenyan Economy.