Kenya Association of Manufactures (KAM) hosted Nakuru County Gubernatorial candidates, Lee Kinyanjui, John Mututho and Dr. Peter Koros today as part of nation-wide engagements with political leaders aimed at centralizing the economic agenda of the country.
Among the key issues of discussion include youth employment, poor infrastructure, congestion in the CBD, a competitive business environment for large and small businesses, spatial planning and resource allocation.
KAM Nakuru Chapter Chair, Mr. Jayen Dodhia emphasised the need for a conducive business environment noting that manufacturing is a key economic activity of the county.
“The manufacturing sector plays a vital role in the growth of a country’s economy. Addressing these challenges will assist the business community reach its desired target of 15% GDP contribution by 2020. As business, we’re looking for business competitiveness in order to reduce the cost of doing business,” added Mr. Dodhia.
Speaking during a debate, the candidates commented on what they termed as the county’s infrastructure inefficiencies in terms of supporting key trade and economic activities. They attributed this to poor resource allocation.
“As a county, you can only pride yourself if you have critical resources like roads and water in place to attract the right type of businesses. However, if there is no evidence of how fees collected are utilized, investors will move to other counties. Automation of key county processes will not only boost revenue collection but also institute audits that will give the public a clear view of the collection vs. spend,” said Lee Kinyanjui.
On his part, John Mututho said that the rationale used to arrive at license fees is arbitrary and illogical adding, “How do you charge a salon owner Ksh.10, 000 while the amount of revenue and stock combined only adds up to Ksh. 8,000? I will take priority in reviewing these costs to not only make it affordable and encourage these business owners to pay up, but also protect the taxpayers who are our employers.”
Dr. Peter Koros pointed out that Nakuru needs sound policies that originate from guided decisions and there are no better people to advice the governor than those already carrying out the business, because they have first-hand information.
“An automated revenue collection process will eliminate parallel revenue collection, ensuring that priority areas get the funding they require in order to deliver to the citizenry. Why would you excavate 10 roads in one go and only tarmac two instead of paying attention to only 2 and deliver a good job? Automating key county processes will help interrogate spending of revenue collection and allocation, which has not happened in the past,” said Dr. Koros.
All three candidates pointed out the need for an active employment agenda by enabling businesses to operate on minimum costs for growth. This would enable businesses to attract and retain a bigger workforce a majority of whom happen to be skilled youth who are currently jobless or engaged in informal businesses.
In order to centralize the economic agenda of this country in current and future political narratives, the Association recently launched a 10-point policy agenda outlining quick, easily attainable actions that can be utilized by Government, Industry and other stakeholders to realize tangible results in inclusive growth and development within the next five years.