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Manufacturers fault MPs rejection of procurement bill changes

They noted that the move will dilute their efforts to recover from Covid-19

In Summary
  • The Bill proposed to amend the Principal Act by requiring that all foreign tenders source not less than 40 per cent of their supplies from local contractors.
  • It also sought to increase the amount for tenders where Kenyan Citizens are given exclusive preference from Sh500million to Sh20billion.
KAM CEO Phyllis Wakiaga
KAM CEO Phyllis Wakiaga
Image: COURTESY

Manufacturers have faulted the recent rejection of changes to the public procurement and asset disposal bill by Parliament, noting that it will dilute their efforts to recover from Covid-19.

The Bill proposed to amend the Principal Act by requiring that all foreign tenders source not less than 40 per cent of their supplies from local contractors.

It also sought to increase the amount for tenders where Kenyan Citizens are given exclusive preference from Sh500million to Sh20billion.

By rejecting this Bill, Parliament sends a clear message to local manufacturers, local creators and innovators that the country is not at all committed to nurturing their businesses,” Phyllis Wakiaga, chief executive, Kenya Association of Manufacturers(KAM) said in a statement.

Wakiaga said the move would erode the competitiveness of Made in Kenya products and gives full advantage to foreign products which already highly encroach the local market share.

KAM called on the government to borrow from the economic lessons of the pandemic which revealed that the country needs to prioritize being self-sufficient.

“Policies such as these move contrary and push us further into being a trading nation,” said KAM

The rejection of the Bill also contradicts the 2015 Presidential Directive that requires that 40 per cent of public procurement be reserved for locally produced goods and services, which was actualised by the Buy Kenya Build Kenya policy.

Consumer landscapes are changing and businesses are adapting to the new normal, as they grapple with challenges caused by Covid-19. The proposed Bill would have supported the maintenance and strengthening of supply chains, to ensure there are no disruptions in future, in the presence of a crisis,” said Wakiaga.

KAM has called on Parliament to review the decision for the sake of the country's economic goals and collective future.

The local manufacturing sector (which is part of President Uhuru’s ‘Big Four Agenda), is still struggling through the Covid-19 pandemic effects, and continues to lose its competitiveness in both local and export markets.