Local industries urged to raise output to counter cheap imports

Trade and Industrialisation PS Juma Mukhwana during the unveiling of Infinity Industrial Park. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Local manufacturers have been urged to raise their output to progressively wean the country off reliance on imports.

Principal Secretary in the State Department for Industry Juma Mukhwana said the increase in the number of industrial parks in different parts of the country is a major incentive to manufacturers to raise their capacity.  

"One of the things that we discourage is importation. Every time we import products from other countries, we export jobs out of Kenya," said Dr Mukhwana. 

He was speaking during the official opening of the Infinity Industrial Park in Nairobi yesterday.

The facility is the first private industrial park for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya. 

It sits on a 200-acre parcel of land off the Eastern Bypass, accessible by both Thika Super Highway and Mombasa Road.

PS Mukhwana said the numerous incentives extended to investors operating from industrial parks will help them lower the cost of production, making their products more competitive.

He said the government is keen on revitalising existing industries such as leather and textiles by harnessing the abundant livestock resources to boost production thus reducing the need for imports. 

As a way of protecting local industries from cheap imports, the government has imposed new taxes in the Finance Act, 2023. 

These include the Exports and Investment Levy, which kicked in on September 1.

It will see importers pay 17.5 per cent on clinker – a key ingredient in the production of cement – and metal products (such as wire rods and billets) and 10 per cent on packaging paper products.

The move, which is meant to protect and prop up the local clinker, steel and paper producers, has not gone down well with other industries that are the primary users of these products.

Dr Mukhwana said the new industrial park will employ about 50,000 when fully completed, helping address the problem of rising unemployment, especially among the youth.  

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