Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are among the biggest winners in the 2017-18 Budget that was presented last Thursday in Parliament.
A good chunk of the Sh2.6 trillion Budget, read by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, will go to areas that are expected to fuel SMEs’ growth, if all the proposals get Parliamentary approval.
Among the wins for enterprises is the proposal by Mr Rotich to compel foreign companies participating in tenders to purchase at least 40 per cent of their supplies locally.
“For purposes of ensuring sustainable promotion of local industry, all foreign tenderers participating in international tenders will be expected to source at least 40 per cent of their supplies from Kenyan citizen contractors,” said Rotich.
He noted that this would enhance the competitiveness of SMEs, drive economic growth and enhance job creation that would help address unemployment challenges. Kenya has signed huge deals with several foreign companies for its infrastructure projects, and Rotich’s proposal presents massive opportunities for local firms.
The Government also intensified the ‘Buy Kenya, Build Kenya’ initiative that is supposed to boost local businesses. On Friday, President Uhuru Kenyatta pitched for the initiative to create jobs when he visited an exhibition that was selling export-quality apparel locally.
“This initiative accords Kenyans an opportunity to access quality, locally made, affordable clothes, with prices ranging from Sh100 to Sh600 for clothes that are sold at Sh6,000 in the US and UK markets,” the President said.
Rotich added that plans to establish the Preference and Reservation Secretariat, which would ensure the interests of youth, women and people with disabilities are taken care of, is at an advanced stage.
The CS emphasised the importance of linking SMEs owned by these groups with procuring entities through the secretariat’s mandate. It will ensure preferences in public procurement are extended to candidates offering goods locally manufactured, assembled, mined, extracted or grown in Kenya.
Young entrepreneurs, whether starting or already in business, were allocated Sh18.3 billion to empower them with, among other things, business skills.