Kenya Association of Manufacturers has today launched the Policy Agenda for Industrialization to guide incoming governments on achieving the economic goals stated in their manifestos by focusing their efforts on the manufacturing sector.
The agenda aims to centralize the economic agenda of this country in current and future political narratives. This includes the need to double jobs, double exports, increase foreign exchange earnings and raise manufacturing share of GDP to 15 percent by 2020.
Speaking at the launch, KAM Chair, Ms Flora Mutahi said that the logic of the 10-point manufacturing agenda is the kind of intervention needed to call attention to the potential that lies in this sector. She further stated that it outlines 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.
“Some party manifestos have indeed taken into account our priority areas for industry. The agenda emphasizes the need to spur competitiveness, that should not be visualized in light of aiding industry to be more profitable as this perspective obscures the real long-term benefits of being competitive. Competitiveness ensures that our locally made products can compete both regionally and internationally,” said Ms Mutahi.
The launch was preceded by KAM’s meeting with various Presidential Candidates including; NASA Principals Hon. Raila Odinga and Hon. Musalia Mudavadi, Jubilee Team led by Party Executive Director, Winnie Guchu and Thirdway Alliance Party, Dr Ekuru Aukot.
Thirdway Alliance Presidential Candidate, Dr Ekuru Aukot said that it is important to focus on counties as the growth engine of Kenya. He also stated that manufacturers have been struggling with counterfeits and there is need to readdress that issue.
“We plan to abolish VAT and replace it with sales tax at 3% to widen the tax base, to ensure that will enable more people to trade and engage in business. We will look at what went wrong in our country in the sphere of manufacturing: competitiveness, counterfeits and corruption, also there has been no rapid effort to interconnect the counties.We can create manufacturing in all 47 counties,” added Dr Ekuru.
Also present at the launch was Executive Director ODM Party Oduor Ong’wen representing the NASA Coalition, who stated that for the past 30 years, Kenya has been seeking Foreign Direct Investments, at the cost of local manufacturers.
“As NASA we will ensure that local manufactures and foreign investors have a level playing field. We know the pain of starting a business in a fairly hostile environment. Policy may be put on paper but the implementation may be the issue. To curb corruption, we will ensure that every public servant signs a code of conduct, that they will not do business with government,” said Mr Ong’wen.
The agenda focuses on sectoral priorities such as: creating a massive export push, raising productivity to world class standards, promoting and leveraging ‘Buy Kenya Build Kenya’, tackling uncustomed goods and counterfeits, and developing a stable policy environment. Additionally, it makes proposals on job creation through the revamping of TVET curriculum in the country and offering apprenticeship.