By Betty Maina
As Kenya moves towards the first elections under the new Constitution, Kenyans have great expectations that life will dramatically improve with the implementation of both national and county governments. These Governments must therefore have the capacity to implement programmes for improved service delivery to impact all the citizens.
The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has put forward its view on what the policy priorities should be for any new government, in a document titled “The KAM Industrial Business Agenda – Priority Actions to build competitive local industry to expand employment in Kenya”.
The most challenging task for the new Governments will be to lay down a sustainable path towards competitiveness of Kenya. The tone should be set within weeks of taking office so that business sees credible commitments to address the major bottlenecks faced by industry and to ensure continued investment.
Energy security must be among the highest priorities for the next Government, as large chunks of our energy infrastructure urgently need replacing and Kenya faces a serious energy shortfall. The Government should pursue policies to deliver a balanced energy mix by providing affordable and sufficient, clean and reliable energy to power industry. Given the costs of these services, the Government should provide more support to boost energy capacity expansion for Kenya to deliver competitively priced manufactured goods and service.
Kenya remains amongst the most heavily taxed economies in the world. The businesses find tax administration a major constraint. This thus calls the Government to establish competitive tax regime by making taxes less burdensome on business, simple to administer and eliminate multiple regulations by Government agencies.
It is key that the next Government helps to develop a fare wage policy that will spur industrial development. It should pursue labour regulations that will facilitate employment expansion and industrialisation and adopt a policy that focuses on rewards based on productivity and appropriate preparedness for work through training.
The priority is that industrial producers need to be supported with access to markets. The incoming Government must safeguard the open trade policy, enhance and actively pursue initiatives to grow and diversify Kenyan exports while ensuring domestic consumption of our goods. We expect Government to lead in conclusion of agreements that expand markets while being the top consumer of Kenyan products.