Uhuru warns private sector players against sabotaging State efforts to stimulate local industry

Saturday, October 19th, 2019 00:00 |
Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta. Photo/File

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday cautioned private sector players against sabotaging government’s policy to give priority to locally produced goods in State procurement.

He said anyone engaged in efforts to scuttle government policies aimed at creating jobs for Kenyans should know that they are engaging in futile errands.

The President spoke when he presided over the launch of Toyota Kenya’s new assembly plant at the Associated Vehicle Assemblers in Miritini, Mombasa county.

He said investors, who are interested in winning government supply tenders especially in the automotive sector, should get into local assembly or manufacturing business.

“The public sector has clear instructions to prioritise locally assembled vehicles in their procurement decisions. However, I have noted with concern that some of the players in the automotive sector are actively campaigning against this initiative by the government to support the investment in the local assembly of motor vehicles,” said Uhuru.

The Head of State said private sector actors should always put the interests of the country first and should adjust their business models to fit into Kenya's development aspirations.

“As we implement the Buy Kenya agenda, we expect the private sector to reciprocate by investing in full automotive manufacturing; form joint ventures, training and building the capacity of local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to provide local content inputs,” the President said.

Uhuru urged Toyota to scale up its investments in Kenya from assembling vehicles to a tier-one component of manufacturing and the eventual establishment of a fully-integrated vehicle manufacturing plant in the country.

He said the government is putting together a National Automotive Policy as part of measures to support local vehicle manufacturers. He instructed Trade Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya to present the policy to Cabinet for approval within three weeks.

“The overall objective of the policy is to provide our domestic industry with opportunities to achieve competitiveness in manufacturing of automotive and parts products,” the President said.

The policy will, among other provisions, lay down the legal and institutional framework necessary to guarantee regulatory certainty for investors.

It will also articulate the fiscal incentives and other measures needed to stimulate local content development, and outline the role of Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutions in the development of the automotive industry.

Uhuru said Kenya is positioning itself to take advantage of the huge market created by the adoption of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which holds an enormous market potential of 1.27 billion people.

Munya, Jomvu MP Badi Twalib, Toyota Tsusho Corporation president  Ichiro Kashitani and hundreds of the motor industry stakeholders attended the event.

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