Manufacturing

Industry players want State to involve them in automotive policy development

Reviving an industry

In Summary

• Dealers in second-hand spare parts want government to involve them before making policies such as banning of importations.

• They said they prefer to import rather most of the used spares especially from Japan, rather than buy locally.

 

 

Artisans working on a spare engine at a garage. /FILE
Artisans working on a spare engine at a garage. /FILE

Dealers in second-hand spare parts want government to involve them before making policies such as banning of importations.

They said they prefer to import rather most of the used spares especially from Japan, rather than buy locally.

Mechanics and dealers in spare parts along Kirinyaga Road revealed that they feel left out of government efforts to revamp local manufacturing of automobiles.

 

One dealer in motor vehicle spares Josiah Murugu* (not real name) whose shop is on Kirinyaga Road said car owners who bring their vehicles for repairs demand particular brands, and prefer parts from Japan, as compared to new parts coming in from Taiwan or China.

“They want spares that will last, and unfortunately a number of locally made spares do not,” he said.

A mechanic based in Grogon, known only as Les Les, said the government should have given a timeline and as well inform the industry players of their intentions so that traders can align themselves accordingly.

“We would want to be informed of what all these changes are about, and not just hear it in media,” he said, adding that job losses could mean the rise in societal evils including muggings and robbery.

According to the draft National Automotive Policy, there are some 25 companies manufacturing various motor vehicle spare parts locally. However, they only account for 36 per cent of the capacity.

Standards body Kenya Bureau of Standards in a phone interview confirmed that the notice barring importation of particular 17 motor vehicle spares is not useful to motorists because they will expose them to risks when on the road.

The notice, put out in 2013, said car parts like tyres, tie-rod-ends, bearings, spark plugs, clutch plates, brake pads, tubes, brake hose pipes, rubber bushes, filters, pressure plates, rack ends, ball joints, brake pads and clutch cables among others should be imported only as new as per Kebs standard KS2190: 2013.

 

“You and I may not know whether the brake pads we have bought in a shop are new or used just by looking at them. That is why the 17 need to be new, to protect car owners,” said Phoebe Gituku, the Kebs corporate communications manager.

The government has not restricted importing of other used motor vehicle parts such as the gearbox, lights, bumpers among others, but the specific list outlined will still be enforced, as has been for the last six years.

Under the enhanced PVoC programme, only suitable spare parts are imported for use in repair of vehicles. The standards body has directed the contracted inspections agents to ensure only spare parts that meet the standards are certified for importation.