Restrategising Kenya’s external relation roadmap to economic expansion, says Mudavadi
Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi has promised to re-strategize Kenya’s foreign diplomatic missions and take advantage of the country’s external relations to expand and find new markets for Kenyan products abroad.
Mudavadi who has declared interest in running for the highest seat in the country said Kenya needs to balance its exports and imports.
According to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), in the year ending June 2021, Kenya recorded a trade deficit of Ksh.103 billion.
Agricultural products remain main Kenya’s exports with horticultural, tea, coffee, tobacco, iron and steel products, petroleum products and cement destined for the Netherlands, UK, United States, Pakistan and East Africa neighbors of Uganda and Tanzania.
On the other hand Kenya’s imports include petroleum products, motor vehicles, iron and steel machinery and transportation equipment that are imported from China, Japan, United States, UAE and India.
“We must move away from the traditional way of saying this is our commercial attaché. How can you redirect that person so that he can be used to attract direct investment into Kenya and at the same time create proper markets and open up new markets for the Kenyans where he is based?” Mudavadi said.
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To boost manufacturing in the country, the Former Finance Minister has also weighed in on the high cost of energy in the country saying the over taxation in the energy sector remains the reason why the sector is experiencing slow development.
According to Mudavadi, petroleum products are usually a target for the government for quick collection of revenue with 40 percent of production cost in manufacturing in Kenya being the cost of energy. He added that there is need for the re-negotiations of the power purchase agreements that the KPLC entered into that have made power costly.
“When you profile the cost of a kilowatt hour of electricity, it’s very expensive in Kenya, how are you going to compete. Until you make the cost of power affordable, you’re going to render all our manufacturers uncompetitive.”
On education, ahead of the double intake that will climax in 2023/24 as Kenya transitions from the 8-4-4 to competence based system.
There have been calls for more resource allocation to the Education docket to avoid a nationwide crisis, a suggestion that Mudavadi completely agrees with.
“We must start preparing and reorganizing ourselves so that resources can be allocated and facilities put out there. The ministry of education released 4.2 billion shillings for infrastructure. If a classroom is worth 1 or 1.2 million then you’re saying that they’ll only expand about 3000 additional classes but how many million children are out there that will need to be financed.”
While stressing on the need to rationalize public expenditure to avoid pushing the country into a debt trap, the ANC party leader revealed that his presidential manifesto will focus on four pillars including, economic agenda, governance, social development and transformation agenda and the environmental agenda ahead of the 2022 general elections.