Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Steel Sector hosted the first ever International Steel Forum in Kenya.
The forum that hosted over 50 stakeholders in the Steel sector from across the globe, focused on providing partnership opportunities to boost the sector’s competitiveness and developing frameworks of collaboration to better shape the future of the industry.
Speaking at the event KAM Chair Mr Sachen Gudka noted that the local Steel sector has grown over the years, adding that the establishment of stronger partnerships with global investors, would be vital to attain the desired growth in the sector and the economy.
“The future of the sector looks at the development of Smart Infrastructure. Through data and employment of sustainable strategies the sector will spur the productivity of the country and the continent for the next generation.
We are at the juncture where our trade deficit continues to widen as a country, and the numbers in Steel are a clear demonstration of that. If we can forge stronger partnerships, with our global stakeholders finding opportunities to continually invest in Kenya, surely we can turn this around in a short amount of time,” said Mr Gudka.
He further stated that the realization of the targets set out under the Manufacturing and Affordable Housing pillars of the government’s Big 4 Agenda will require a significant input from the iron and steel sector, as it presents opportunities for growth.
Also at the event, KAM Steel Sector Chair Mr Bobby Johnson highlighted that though the sector continues to grow, its full potential still remains unexploited, due to a variety of challenges including, high energy cost, Import Development Fees (IDF) and Railway development levy (RDL) and illicit trade.
“We have continued to lobby the government for Zero rating of IDF and RDL for all industry inputs to improve the sector’s competitiveness. In addition, we are also keen on advocating for the development of clear procedures for smooth implementation of Buy Kenya, Build Kenya and local content – especially for large scale infrastructure projects with a high demand of steel.
If the Big 4 Agenda target to grow Manufacturing’s GDP contribution to 15% is to be met, we must address these challenges. We remain resilient in engaging the government, with proposals to solve these issues, and anticipate that favourable changes shall be effected soon,” concluded Mr Johnson.