Ruto promises to review tax regime of pharmaceutical sector

President William Ruto in an address to the European Union Parliament, Strasbourg, France. [PCS]

President William Ruto has said the Government will work with the private sector to actualise Universal Health Coverage. 

Ruto announced that the Government will support the pharmaceutical sector to strengthen its local manufacturing capacity. 

The Head of State assured that the Government will review the tax regime and the cost of doing business in the sector.

He said the government will prioritise the purchase of medical supplies from local manufacturers to support growth of the sector.

“Local manufacturing is essential to Universal Health Coverage; lowering the cost of drugs and medical supplies will make it sustainable, affordable and make it work for everybody,” he said. 

The President made the remarks on Wednesday in Syokimau, Machakos County, during the opening of MEDS Microbiology Laboratory.

The state-of-the-art facility is expected to enhance healthcare in Kenya and the region. 

President Ruto said the Government has set aside 100 acres out of the 500 acres in the Thika Special Economic Zone for pharmaceutical firms. 

“I invite investors to exploit this space and develop manufacturing plants in Kenya,” he said. 

The Head of State said that the coronavirus pandemic was a wake-up call for countries to strengthen their local manufacturing abilities. 

He cited instances where countries withheld medical supplies for their domestic use at the expense of those that rely on their industries. 

“Having local manufacturing capacity is an insurance for us of supply even when we have difficult times globally,” he said. 

The President said the government has taken a whole-of-the-society approach to service delivery to ensure health delivery is truly bottom-up. 

“Our healthcare agenda must always be inclusive, in order to benefit from the unique advantages of diverse stakeholders,” he said. 

He noted that the government has instituted the necessary structural and institutional reforms and availed adequate human resource capacity. 

Ruto said the government will also work with faith-based organisations to ensure all Kenyans have access to universal health. 

The President revealed that the government has adopted advanced technology to curb corruption and the wastage of healthcare resources. 

This, he said, has transformed operations at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority. 

He expressed optimism that technology will also enhance the transparency and accountability in the National Social Health Insurance Fund (NSHIF), formerly National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). 

“Use of technology will help us deal with fake claims and pilferage and make sure Kenya gets value for every penny that they contribute,” he said. 

The President called on institutions of higher learning to pursue industry-focused training solutions to bridge the existing knowledge gap. 

Present were the Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha and Deputy Mission Director USAID Kenya/ East Africa Bert Ubamadu. 

Nakhumicha noted that the MEDS Microbiology Laboratory is a World Health Organisation pre-qualified laboratory.  

She said the facility will boost local manufacturing of pharmaceuticals as well as the country’s reputation in the sector. 

“The lab that we launch today fills the gap in the quality of locally manufactured products in this country,” he said. 

Mr Ubamadu said the facility will help protect Kenya from pathogens and future health threats.

Later, President Ruto inspected the progress of the Highrise Affordable Housing project in Kibera. The projects will have 3,500 units.

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