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State will only purchase locally assembled vehicles, says Munya

Zachary Ochuodho @zachuodho

The government is committed to ensure that all ministries, departments and agencies procure only locally assembled automobiles for its use in a bid to realise its ‘Buy Kenya Build Kenya’ goal. It further said it is developing a ‘master list’ of locally produced spare parts to deter importation.

Trade and Industrial Cabinet secretary Peter Munya said the move will create more jobs and help the country realise a projected growth of 15 per cent in the manufacturing sector.

Speaking yesterday while launching the Isuzu East Africa’s Sh1 billion expanded assembly, Munya said the plant would improve value addition, employ locals, provide jobs to suppliers and create back and forward financial linkages.

Industrialisation agenda

The CS commended Isuzu EA for leading the automotive industry in driving the industrialisation agenda and investing in Kenya.

“The expansion by Isuzu EA was in line with the government’s ambition to grow the country’s manufacturing sector,” said Munya, adding: “We aim to create jobs by expanding the manufacturing sector and by being competitive and ambitious enough, we can make products that are of world-class standards here in Kenya and for export to regional markets.”

Isuzu EA managing director Rita Kavashe said the move is a demonstration of Isuzu EA’s manufacturing capacity to locally assemble a wide range of commercial vehicles that meet diverse customer needs in different economic sectors.

“The new assembly line is aimed at modernising and boosting assembly operations in readiness for the launch of the seventh generation locally assembled Isuzu vehicles later this year,” she said.

Kavashe said with this a significant step and Isuzu EA is keen to strengthen its local assembly potential in line with government ambitions to grow the manufacturing sector.

She said assembling the planned truck models through completely knocked down kits provides some great benefits to Isuzu EA.

Local content

“We expect increased employment opportunities to support the new assembly lines, local content requirements for the new model lines and opportunities for technology and skills transfer to build the capacity of local service technicians,” she said.

Isuzu Assembly Plant, she said, was fully committed to the Buy Kenya, Build Kenya vision.

“This investment will continue to ensure that our vehicles meet global safety and quality standards for our customers, while creating growth opportunities in the manufacturing sector in support of the government’s Big Four agenda,” said Kavashe.

The new assembly lines commissioned by Munya included an electro deposition paint-shop, dynamic test centre and water leak test booths that will run tests to ensure all vehicle cabins remain waterproof.

Chris Kirubi, an investor at Isuzu EA, advised Kenyans to buy locally assembled vehicles to help the government create jobs and also to support economic growth. “With the right policy, investors in the manufacturing sector can do better,” said Kirubi.

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