Manufacturers have today called on political aspirants to focus on issues affecting Mwananchi, as opposed to political rhetoric and unpractical measures that do not address current realities.
This was during the launch of the Manufacturing Manifesto, which seeks to guide political aspirants on how to transform Kenya into a country with a competitive manufacturing base that guarantees a strong economic foundation, productive jobs and purchasing power for citizens.
Speaking during the launch, KAM Chairman Mucai Kunyiha, explained that the country is facing challenges which have rendered Mwananchi unable to afford necessities, due to the cost of living which is increasingly becoming unbearable.
“As a country, we are faced with extreme fiscal distress due to public debt, high levels of unemployment and the skyrocketing cost of living. Fiscal distress has led the current Government to impose numerous taxes to bridge the budget deficit, putting a strain on many Kenyans who are struggling to make ends meet. On the other hand, the numerous taxes are hindering the manufacturing sector from growing, yet, it is the guaranteed provider of quality jobs through backward and forward linkages.
Mr Kunyiha added that it is essential for political aspirants to prioritize citizens’ wellbeing even after the general elections, saying, “As manufacturers, we hope that after the general elections, will be a better place for citizens. If our manufacturing industry’s competitiveness continues on a negative trajectory, it continually affects its ability to offer productive jobs. Its investments are diverted towards keeping up with constant and sudden shifting policies and regulations as opposed to investment going into competitive wages; improved innovative equipment; research and development; and expansion.”
Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) CEO, Kwame Owino highlighted that the Kenyan economy needs to shift gears, to address the economic challenges we are facing, “We must urgently focus on liberalizing our economy to give the business community room to expand.”
The Manifesto highlights key areas, which if looked into, shall drive prosperity and empower citizens economically. These include macroeconomic issues, raising the export intensity of manufacturing, reducing the regulatory burden, raising investment for industry, providing public goods for manufacturing, driving counties’ industrial competitiveness, effective and pro-industry taxation structure and fully implementing existing manufacturing-centric policies.
Present at the event were representatives from various political parties, including Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Amani National Congress ( ANC), Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM), Forum for Restoration of Democracy Kenya (FORD-Kenya), Tujibebe Wakenya Party (JIBEBE), Kenya African National Union (KANU), Narc-Kenya, and The Service Party (TSP).