The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has launched the Manufacturing Priority Agenda (MPA) 2019 challenging the government to level the playing field.
Under the theme, Closing the manufacturing gap through the Big 4 Agenda for shared prosperity, the Agenda outlines immediate action plans that will yield tangible results in the short term, which will see Kenya’s manufacturing sector close the current gap of 6.6 per cent by 2022.
This is to help attain the 15 per cent GDP target under the Big 4 Agenda.
Speaking during the launch, Principal Secretary, State Department for Investment and Industry, Betty Maina noted industrialization is the driving force for any economy.
“No country has grown without industrialization. This is why the Government has prioritized the manufacturing sector under the Big 4 Agenda.”
She added, “The Manufacturing Priority Agenda that we have launched provides information on key areas the manufacturing sector would like the Government to focus on, in order to drive the competitiveness of industry.”
Maina urged businesses to expand their investments as it is a sure way to grow the economy and create employment opportunities.
The Chairman, National Assembly Committee on Trade & Industry, Kanini Kega noted, “We need to have all arms of government engaging at all times to ensure a holistic approach to addressing issues. We also encourage business to engage in the public participation processes.”
KAM Vice Chairman, Mucai Kunyiha noted that Kenya to realize its industrialization goals, there is need for deliberate and predictable policy interventions.
“For Kenya to achieve its Big 4 Agenda and Vision 2030 goals, our approach towards the manufacturing sector has to change. It must be business unusual.”
Mucai added, “This means that we need to prioritize its productivity by making it profitable for local companies to export again, boosting their capacity to expand within the country and focusing on SME growth and productivity.”
He argued that this is only attainable if “we put in place policies that will promote the competitiveness of local industry, encourage value addition and diversity of locally manufactured products.”
The priority areas will be driven under five key pillars which, if strengthened, will realize the manufacturing goals under the Big 4 Agenda. The pillars are competitiveness and a level playing field, enhanced market access, pro-industry policy and institutional framework, government driven SME development and securing the future of manufacturing industry.
The launch of the Manufacturing Priority Agenda marks the first of many events to celebrate KAM’s 60 years of adding value.
In January, KAM said that the government erred in procuring the buses from outside the country yet the vehicle manufacturers have the capability and capacity to meet the government’s demand.
KAM said that as the largest procurement entity in the country, the government, where possible, ought to direct its spending on locally manufactured goods with a view of supporting the big four agenda.
This was in response to the government procuring the Bus Rapid Transport System buses from South Africa.
The umbrella body said that if we the desired goals in the big four agenda are to be realized, it has to be demonstrated through commitment to the 40 per cent local content procurement regulation, especially in critical infrastructural projects and decisions.
By so doing, KAM said this will, in turn, encourage further investments in the sector by both local and foreign investors, increasing government revenue and more importantly offering productive jobs.
According to KAM, the taxes touch on various key sectors of industry, and are bound to have a negative bearing on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the size and productivity of local industry and the capacity for manufacturing to boost the local economy and achieve 15 per cent GDP contribution by 2022.