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January 21, 2019

Produce affordable vehicles for Kenyans, Uhuru tells local assemblers

President Uhuru with members of the Kenya Manufacturers Association in Mombasa on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. /PSCU
President Uhuru with members of the Kenya Manufacturers Association in Mombasa on Wednesday, January 9, 2019. /PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged local motor vehicle assemblers to innovate ways of producing quality vehicles that are affordable for Kenyans.

The President said this will discourage the buying of imported used vehicles which are being sold at lower prices than those assembled locally.

“We have to think outside the box. I encourage you to come up with real solutions in the motor vehicle industry that will benefit Kenyans,” he said.

The President spoke on Wednesday at State House in Mombasa when he met members of the Kenya Manufacturers Association.

They discussed the national automotive policy that is geared towards promoting the sector.

Manufacturing is one of the key pillars of the Big Four agenda through which the government aims to create jobs for the youth.

The President emphasised that he was keen to see the country’s vehicle assembly industry back on track. He said in the past it was a major employer.

Uhuru said the government is ready to work with the Vehicle Manufacturers Association to restore the local industry to its former glory.

“We all acknowledge that the importation of used vehicles has led to the slump of the vehicle manufacturing sector in the country,” the President said.

The Head of State, however, challenged the local vehicle assemblers to ensure production of high-quality vehicles as well as parts.

“As we work to improve the local manufacturing industry, we also have to insist that quality standards must be observed at all times,” he said.

Simba Corporation Group Executive Chairman Adil Popat, Isuzu East Africa MD Rita Kavashe, D.T. Dobie Executive Chairman Zarak Khan and Martyn Broadfield of Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers proposed ways to improve the sector. 

Among the requests, they asked for duty-free importation of plant and machinery.

The manufacturers proposed the establishment of an effective institutional mechanism to provide focused attention to the industry. This includes a National Automotive Council that will be charged with implementing policy.

They also asked the government to provide incentives.

The President told local manufacturers the government will give them preference when purchasing vehicles.

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki and Cabinet secretaries Peter Munya, Henry Rotich, Najib Balala, James Macharia, Joe Mucheru, Adan Mohamed were present.

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