- He spoke at the third Exporters' Roundtable held in Nairobi
- There is a general feeling the export guarantee scheme is not working
Exporters in Kenya have been urged to take advantage of the available opportunities to help bridge the country's wide trade deficit.
Speaking at the Third Exporters' Roundtable held in Nairobi on Thursday, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) President Richard Ngatia said exporters play a pivotal role in driving the country's economy.
According to him, exporters brings in much-needed foreign exchange that supports the country incase of volatilities.
The country's FX reserves currently stands at 3.6 months of import cover, a great improvement compared to the first three months of the year when they sunk below both local and East Africa's thresholds of 4-months and 4.5 months of import cover.
Low FX reserves have dented the country's currency that has seen the shilling drop over 17 per cent against the greenback . It closed the day at Sh138.
He said that KNCCI has been at the forefront to ensure that its members involved in international trade get information through export promotion initiatives,expos, exhibitions.
Trade facilitation programmes that include incoming and outgoing trade missions, B2B, B2G, automated CoOs, E-commerce platforms,insights on markets trends, regulatory requirements and Industry specific standards.
"All these efforts are geared towards making us double our efforts in growing our exports in comparison to imports. This is meant to close the gap for balanced trade between Kenya and trading partners,'' Ngatia said.
Kenya's trade deficit widened in 2022 from Sh1.4 trillion in 2021 to Sh1.6 trillion.
While local traders have the capacity to grow exports, the state agencies need to clear some bottlenecks.
''We have received complaints from our export members through the IMPEX club about the tedious logistical processes put in place by the regulators,manual processes that would have been digitised to save on time and resources,''Ngatia said.
He added that members have also raised issues about bureaucracy in processing and duplication of trade licences between the county and national government regulators.
"There is a general feeling the export guarantee scheme is not working.''
The chamber through its trade development department has done market intelligence on key products of export including tea which brings in $262 million, cut flower $766 million, coffee $262 million, refined petroleum at $247 million and titanium ore ($194 million).
These products are exported mainly to Uganda ($831 million), Netherlands($576 million), USA ($566 million), Pakistan ($487 million) and United Kingdom ($465 million).