NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 23 – Stakeholders in the local formal retail supply chain space, have called on local retailers to consider adopting a 70% local content stocking policy to spur industrial growth.
The stakeholders’ led by the Suppliers Association of Kenya Chairman, Kimani Rugendo said the adoption of such a policy will help to accelerate industrial development as envisioned in the Big Four agenda.
Speaking when he addressed hundreds of Tusker Mattresses Staff members and suppliers who had gathered to mark the Mzee Joram Kamau Day at the Railway Training Institute grounds, Rugendo challenged retailers to consider enhancing their balance of locally sourced products in their shelves.
The stocking of locally manufactured and sourced products, he said will undoubtedly have a positive effect on the local manufacturing sector and has a potential of doubling the sectors GDP contribution. Rugendo, who is also an industrialist said local industrial players have invested heavily in manufacturing excellence to meet global benchmarks.
“The formal retail players such as Tuskys and local manufacturers stand to reap good benefits by working closely as partners in progress,” Rugendo said, adding that, “The adoption of a 70% local content policy will provide a very good platform to advance the Big Four Agenda by providing a market for locally produced goods.”
In his tribute to the Tusker Mattresses Founder the late Mzee Joram Kamau on the occasion of his 16th memorial, Rugendo said the country also needs to start according national recognition to such unsung heroes.
“while the Americans have the late Sam Walton the founder of WalMart, we have an unsung hero in the Late Mzee Joram Kamau who set the foundation for East Africa’s most successful and resilient retail chain,” Rugendo said.
On his part, Tusker Mattresses Chairman, Dr. John Kago Kamau said the firm that operates Tuskys Supermarkets and Mavazi Lifestyle clothing stores has adopted competitive operating strategies focused on solid partnerships with local suppliers and will consider the 70% proposal.
The retail chain traces its roots to early 1983 when the late Mzee Joram Kamau decided to venture into business, having sold his prized bull to raise capital to start up Gitwe General Stores, which was located in the small hamlet town of Rongai, in Nakuru District.
The expansion of Mzee Kamau’s business was gradual yet steady as he later opened Jolly Grocers and Magic superstores which had a branch both in Nakuru and Nairobi.
The 1990s saw the opening of the first Tusker Mattresses Limited Store. A couple of years later, the chain was rebranded Tuskys Supermarkets following the merger of Tusker Mattresses Limited and Magic Superstores.
“As we remember him, and the legacy that he has left for us to safeguard and pass on to the next generation, there are many lessons that we can draw from Mzee Joram Kamau’s life and these are embodied in the values that he worked to tirelessly to entrench in the work place,” Dr. Kago said. And added: “We shall always strive keep these virtues alive through staff training programmes and the internship initiative which was launched by Mzee Joram Kamau with the aim of uplifting the lives through giving people job opportunities.”
The Tuskys family celebrates the Joram Kamau Day annually to commemorate the values, life and achievements of the Tusker Mattresses Founder. From its humble beginnings, the late Mzee Joram Kamau built the business steadily and today the firm employs more than 6000 employees with a complement of more than 800 direct suppliers.