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President Uhuru Kenyatta during the unveiling of the first locally assembled Mahindra vehicles at State House, Nairobi, yesterday. Uhuru test drives a Mahindra pick-up. [PSCU]

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday unveiled the first locally assembled Mahindra vehicles at State House, Nairobi.

The Mahindra Scorpio Single and Double cabin pick-ups were assembled at the Associated Vehicle Assembly (AVA Kenya) plant in Mombasa. AVA is a wholly- owned subsidiary of Simba Corporation Limited.

Speaking during the launch, President Kenyatta directed National Treasury and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to immediately institute actions aimed at reducing taxes for vehicles that are fully assembled locally.

“Further, to make locally assembled vehicles more affordable and available to Kenyans, I have also directed that the National Treasury and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives hold discussions with financial institutions to create special products for locally-assembled vehicles,” President Kenyatta said.

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Mutually agreeable

The Head of State asked motor vehicle assemblers, in consultation with National Treasury and Ministry of Industry, to work out a mutually agreeable framework that will ensure the benefits accruing from the tax incentives are passed on to the consumer. 

With the launch of the two vehicle models, President Kenyatta said Mahindra Motors has joined the list of globally-renowned automotive brands that have chosen Kenya as their home.

Other global automobile brands that are locally assembled are Toyota, Peugeot and Volkswagen.

The president said his administration has prioritised the local assembly of motor vehicles as a means of creating jobs and enhancing technology transfer. 

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“I shall continue to provide incentives to expand this sector,” the president said, as he commended Simba Corporation Limited for choosing to expand its investments in Kenya. 

“We appreciate your sustained investment in Kenya as it is a vote of confidence in our ever improving business environment. This fact has encouraged my administration to continue to make every effort to revitalise the contribution of the manufacturing sector to the economy,” the president told the Simba Corporation leadership team that was led by Group Chairman Adil Popat. 

In keeping with the “Buy Kenya, Build Kenya” campaign, the President said the government is promoting market access through preferential procurement of locally assembled vehicles. 

“My government is committed to working together with all players to enhance capacity of the motor industry.  I am, in particular, pleased to note the progress we are making in the motor vehicle sector,” the president said.

He congratulated Simba Corporation for the refurbishment of the Mombasa-based AVA to a level of globally endorsed centre of excellence with a capacity to assemble and supply to the East African region.

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AVA currently assembles vehicles for 10 vehicle manufacturers and is certified and endorsed by 20 global manufacturers. President Kenyatta challenged other sector players to take advantage of the refurbished AVA facility, which is currently producing 10,000 units annually, to increase their production.

President Uhuru Kenyatta Mahindra vehicles Associated Vehicle Assembly Simba Corporation Limited
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