An inclusive supply chain will lead to a resilient economy

Computerised supply chain. [Courtesy]

I set out to investigate the landscape of diversity and supply chain inclusivity in Kenya over the last few months. This was prompted by my memory of how, as young boys from different neighbourhoods, we used to play football.

One thing that has stuck with me is that not a single day would go by without one of us at the playground shouting “Hii game si fair!” (This game is not fair). As children, we were well aware of the concepts of fairness, inclusivity and diversity.

 The Constitution stipulates the conditions and framework under which business should be carried out in accordance with a system that is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective. This is the first step in ensuring that all industry players within the supply chain markets have a fair chance which ensures everyone gets a chance at value for money.

 In the same breath, the country has put in place an Act of Parliament prescribing a framework within which policies relating to procurement and asset disposal, which is now known as the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015 and regulation 2020 are explored.

These blueprints plus other Cabinet memos are aimed at putting into place categories of preference in the allocation of contracts, the protection or advancement of persons, categories of persons or groups previously disadvantaged by unfair competition or discrimination and sanctions against contractors that have not performed accordingly.

Similarly, the government came up with a law on preference and reservation scheme, which dictates that 30 per cent of government or public sector business is carried out by youth, people with disability and women. The aim was to provide opportunities to diverse suppliers. Supplier diversity and inclusion initiatives can make a significant difference to companies’ revenues and to communities. The advantages include increasing innovation and introducing new products to the market besides expanding the tax base.

It gives businesses chances for innovation and competition. It also empowers businesses that represent changing demographics. However, for these diversity and inclusivity initiatives to work, there is need for all industry players to understand their roles within the supply chain ecosystem. Players can be achieved through sustained research, innovation to new products with the aim of improving efficiency and increasing their networking skills. The Government has done well to impact and create opportunities for small and medium enterprises. Now, all players have a role in building the economy, providing opportunities for all and offering quality services.

The writer is a procurement practitioner and a supply chain expert.

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