KAM wants controls on imports

Published on 11/06/2009

By John Njiraini

Manufacturers have appealed to Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta to impose punitive taxes on imported goods to protect local industries.

As the sector recovers from the worst year, where it recorded a growth of 3.8 per cent from 6.5 per cent in 2007, due to an influx of cheap imports and counterfeits, local manufacturers want the Government to contain imports. They are also calling for the speedy implementation and operationalisation of the Anti-Counterfeit Act, which was signed into law by President Kibaki.

“It is important we promote and protect our own products rather than focusing more on cheap imports which are affecting us negatively in the long run,” said a statement by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM).

Identified as one of the key sectors that will drive the realisation of the Vision 2030, manufacturing is a crucial sector in its contribution to products outputs, exports earnings and employment creation.

However, its performance in recent years has been lacklustre as the combination of various factors ranging from cheap imports, illicit trade, low levels of productivity, high cost of production, depreciation of the shilling and effects of the post election violence have seen fortunes of the sector plummet.

Jobs lost

According to KAM, the Government has not offered the necessary support to the sector particularly in containing the flooding of the local market with cheap imports and counterfeits mainly from China.

These challenges have slowed down growth in the sector and also resulted in the closure of some entities, under utilisation of capacity and massive lay offs.

Statistics by the Federation of Kenya Employers show that a whooping 10,000 people have lost their jobs in the past one year.

Complaints by companies like Eveready East Africa and Haco Industries about the negative effects that cheap imports have had on their businesses have landed on deaf years.

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