Political parties should sell policies to the electorate that will spur growth of the manufacturing sector, which is yet to realise its full potential. According to Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), the next government should put in place predictable laws that will ease the cost of doing business, deepen investor confidence and ensure local industries are stable.
Speaking yesterday while outlining sector priorities, KAM chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga called for prompt payments of goods and services. “Increasing the velocity of payments will boost growth because it is the bloodline of the economy, otherwise the economy weakens,” Wakiaga said when KAM members met representatives of political parties.
She added that there is need to focus on priorities such as creating a massive export push, raising productivity to world class standards, tackling uncustomed goods and counterfeits and developing a stable policy environment.
These policies are premised on the need to increase jobs, double exports, increase foreign exchange earnings and raise manufacturing share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 15 per cent in the next three years.
They also want tax pressure eased in the sector by increasing the tax collection base so as avoid burdening businesses. Banking on 10 policy priorities, the manufacturers want the sector’s share in GDP to increase from an estimated 9.2 per cent in 2016, having steadily declined in recent years.
The document prioritises lowering the cost of energy, making energy more accessible and sustainable, promoting access to long-term financing for industrial activities and supporting an export push for Kenya’s manufactured products and improving access to markets for these products, while promoting the ‘Build Kenya, Buy Kenya’ mantra.
KAM Chair Flora Mutahi said manufacturers want to use these polices to highlight the potential in the sector and outline quick, easily attainable actions that can be utilised by Government, industry and other stakeholders to realise tangible results in inclusive growth and development within the next five years.
She said boosting the investment environment would deepen foreign direct investment (FDI)which United Kingdom based think tank Overseas Development Institute say only a quarter of this FDI goes to the manufacturing sector. This is still much lower than Ethiopia at 75 per cent.
Taking issue with the increasingly high levels of counterfeiting in the country, Thirdway Alliance Presidential Candidate, Ekuru Aukot said Kenya must focus on counties as growth engines. “Policy may be put on paper but the implementation is 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 ODM Party Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen representing the NASA Coalition.