Inside Politics

Kenya Association of Manufacturers blasts House over tenders Bill

Friday, August 20th, 2021 00:00 |
KAM chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga.

Manufacturers have criticised Parliament for rejecting a move seeking to increase tender awards to Sh20 billion to help the sector nurture their local businesses.

Through their lobby, the manufacturers had petitioned Parliament to increase the amount for tenders where Kenyan Citizens are given exclusive preference from Sh500 million to Sh20 billion.

Dubbed the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill, the manufacturers also asked that all foreign tenders source not less than 40 per cent of their supplies from local contractors.

Lack of commitment

Speaking through their business association, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), they said Parliament was sending a wrong message to local manufacturers, creators and innovators that Kenya is not committed to nurturing their businesses.

“This move erodes the competitiveness of Made in Kenya products and gives full advantage to foreign products which already highly encroach the local market share,” said KAM chief executive officer Phyllis Wakiaga.

The chief executive said it is unreasonable for the lawmakers to dilute efforts of local manufacturers to recover economically and invest in this country at this critical point when the economy is going through Covid-19 pandemic knocks.

“From the economic lessons of the pandemic, we need to prioritise being self-sufficient as a country, and yet policies such as these move contrary and push us further into being a trading nation,” said Wakiaga.

Uhuru directive 

She said the move also contradicts a 2015 presidential directive which requires that 40 per cent of public procurement be reserved for locally produced goods and services, a move later actualized by the Buy Kenya Build Kenya (BKBK) Policy.

Already, 334 manufactured products have been gazetted by the Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development Betty Maina, in a move that will lead to further decline in the growth of the local sector already reeling under high rates of unemployment.

The lobby says the proposed bill would have supported the maintenance and strengthening of supply chains to ensure there are no disruptions in future, in the presence of a crisis

“Consumer landscapes are changing and businesses are adapting to the new normal, as they grapple with challenges caused by Covid-19,” she said.

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