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Kenya’s manufacturers on Tuesday called for the opening up of markets as industry consolidates its market position as a leading industrial hub in East Africa.

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market

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) CEO Designate Phyllis Wakiaga said international trade plays a great role in growing the manufacturing sector and the economy as a whole, and needs to be increased.
“The trend on Kenya’s export in the East Africa Community (EAC) market and in the region is mainly attributed to various trade hindrances, such as charging full Common External Tariff (CET) duty rates by customs authorities from other Partner States and various Non Tariff Barriers (NTBs),” Wakiaga said.
She made these remarks during a two-day strategy meeting with ambassadors and trade officers from the EAC region, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, which was organised by KAM in Mombasa.
The EAC Common External Tariff (CET) has harmonized the region’ s taxation regime for raw materials, which are charged at zero duty, 10 percent for semi-finished goods and 25 percent for finished goods
Over the last two years, statistics from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics have shown that Kenya’s exports to the region have been declining by about 7 percent.
KAM Chairman Pradeep Paunrana stressed on the support required by industry from Kenyan embassies abroad in order to enhance trade expansion within the region, which includes carrying out market intelligence that will assist in understanding the export opportunities available in the region.
“There is much embassies can do to facilitate businesses. Constant dialogue between business and the embassies will be critical for industry to know the opportunities available and market dynamics,” said Paunrana, who also called on the private sector to utilise Kenyan embassies to facilitate their businesses.
Kibicho Karanja, Principal Secretary for Foreign Affairs, said the government will continue to facilitate business to export with ease while enhancing access to markets within the region.
He pointed out the need to review and prioritise the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU’s) and Bilateral Agreements for business to reap maximum benefits from these agreements.
“We have over 2,000 MOUs, but this is not enough. Execution of the MOUs is what is important,” he said. “We need to strategise on how to creatively market what Kenya has to offer and how to exploit the immense opportunities that Kenya has. Kenya should also strategise on how to engage with the counterparts in the region and how to incorporate them.”
In a bid to enhance market access for Kenyan products, Kibicho said Kenya plans to reopen its embassy in Mogadishu soon.
Kibicho reiterated on government’s commitment in enhancing manufacturers’ competitiveness and market access, and called on all institutions that implement government policies to work in partnership with the private sector to address what ails business. Enditem

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