President Uhuru Kenyatta has rallied local motor vehicle assemblers to innovate ways of producing quality vehicles that are affordable for Kenyans.
The head of state says this is the only way to discourage the purchase of imported used vehicles which are currently selling at lower prices compared to 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,” President Kenyatta said.
The President was speaking today at State House, Mombasa when he met members of the Kenya Manufacturers Association to discuss the National Automotive Policy geared towards promoting the sector.
Under President Kenyatta’s big 4 legacy agenda, the government identified manufacturing is one of the key pillars of the initiative which the Jubilee administration aims at creating thousands of jobs for the youth.
President Kenyatta recalled years past when the country’s vehicle assembly industry was a major employer.
It’s against this background that president undertook to revitalize the sector for the greater good of the country’s economy.
He urged the Vehicle Manufacturers to work hand in hand with his administration in the ongoing efforts 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,” President Kenyatta said.
But even as he made a case for Build Kenya Buy Kenya strategy, the Head of State challenged the local vehicle assemblers to up their game and 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,” the President said.
Members of the Kenya Manufacturers Association that included Simba Corporation Group Executive Chairman Adil Popat, Isuzu East Africa Managing Director Rita Kavashe, D.T. Dobie Executive Chairman Zarak Khan and Mr. Martyn Broadfield of Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers among others proposed a number of measures that would improve the sector including duty-free importation of plant and machinery.
The vehicle manufacturers proposed the establishment of an effective institutional mechanism to provide focused and continued attention to the industry including a national automotive council that will be charged with the responsibility of implementing the national automotive policy.
They also urged the Government to provide incentives to support local content development in terms of vehicle parts and components.
President Kenyatta assured the local manufacturers that the Government will give them preference when purchasing vehicles.
Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and Cabinet Secretaries Peter Munya, Henry Rotich, Najib Balala, James Macharia, Joe Mucheru, Adan Mohamed and Attorney General Paul Kihara also attended the meeting.