KAM reprimands MPs for rejecting Bill seeking to promote local suppliers

KAM reprimands MPs for rejecting Bill seeking to promote local suppliers

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has castigated the recent rejection of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Bill by the National Assembly’s Committee on Finance and National Planning.

According to KAM, it is unconscionable for law-makers to sideline efforts to support local manufactures, at a time when the country is struggling to get economy back to its feet amid job losses.

“By rejecting the Bill, Parliament sends a clear message to local manufacturers, local creators and innovators that the country is not at all committed to nurturing their businesses,” said Phyllis Wakiaga, KAM CEO.

Rejection of the bill means is an impetus to the high importation of foreign products that have flooded Kenyan market space as it erodes competitiveness of Made in Kenya products.

The proposed law sought to compel foreign contractors to source all products and services locally if available, dealing a blow to Kenyan firms.

Committee on Finance and National Planning rejected the Bill, arguing that some of the locally made products are of low quality and will compromise standards of the infrastructure projects.

“Requirement for foreign tenderers participating in local tenders to source all their locally manufactured supplies from local contractors is not feasible,” the committee said in its report of the Bill.

KAM, however, says failure to adopt the Bill contradicts the 2015 Presidential Directive that requires that 40 percent of public procurement be reserved for locally produced goods and services, which was actualized by the Buy Kenya Build Kenya (BKBK) Policy.

The push to compel foreign contractors to source more products and services locally comes at a time non-Kenyan firms are undertaking multi-billion infrastructure projects.

The projects include the Nairobi Expressway and the Nairobi to Mau Summit toll highway whose construction will start next month.

KAM had sought to increase the amount for tenders where Kenyans are given exclusive preference between Ksh.500,000,000 to Ksh.20,000,000,000.

Chinese firms have bagged most of the grand projects but there have been concerns that not enough quantities of products are being purchased locally.

The association expressed concerns that Kenyans ought to have been given opportunity to fully participate in nation building with consumer landscapes changing as businesses adapt to the new normal, as they grapple with effects caused by COVID-19.

“Consumer landscapes are changing and businesses are adapting to the new normal, as they grapple with challenges caused by COVID-19. The proposed Bill would have supported the maintenance and strengthening of supply chains, to ensure there are no disruptions in future, in the presence of a crisis.”

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