President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday urged local motor vehicle assemblers to innovate ways of producing quality vehicles that are affordable for Kenyans.
According to the Head of State the move would help to discourage the buying of imported used vehicles which are currently selling at lower prices than those assembled locally.
“We have to think outside the box. I encourage you to come up with real solutions in motor vehicle industry that will benefit Kenyans,” President Kenyatta said at State House, Mombasa, when he met members of the Kenya Manufacturers Association to discuss the National Automotive Policy geared towards promoting the sector.
Manufacturing is one of the key pillars of the big 4 development agenda through which the Government aims at creating thousands of jobs for the youth.
President Kenyatta emphasized that he was keen to see the country’s vehicle assembly industry back on track, noting that in the past, it used to be a major employer in the country.
He assured that the government was ready to work with the Vehicle Manufacturers Association to restore the local industry to its former glory.
“We all acknowledge that the importation of used vehicles has led to the slump of the vehicle manufacturing sector in the country,” President Kenyatta said.
The Head of State, however, challenged the local vehicle assemblers to ensure production of high quality vehicles as well as parts.
“As we work to improve the local manufacturing industry, we also have to insist that quality standards must be observed at all times,” the President said.
Members of the Kenya Manufacturers Association that included Simba Corporation Group Executive Chairman Adil Popat, Isuzu East Africa Managing Director Rita Kavashe, D.T. Dobie Executive Chairman Zarak Khan and Mr Martyn Broadfield of Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers among others proposed a number of measures that would improve the sector including duty free importation of plant and machinery.
The vehicle manufacturers proposed the establishment of an effective institutional mechanism to provide focused and continued attention to the industry including a national automotive council that will be charged with the responsibility of implementing the national automotive policy.
They also urged the Government to provide incentives to support local content development in terms of vehicle parts and components.
On his part, President Kenyatta assured the local manufacturers that the Government will give them preference when purchasing vehicles.