NAIROBI, Kenya, — Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday urged local motor vehicle assemblers to innovate ways of producing quality vehicles that are affordable for Kenyans.
Kenyatta who held talks with Kenya Manufacturers Association (KAM) to discuss the National Automotive Policy geared towards promoting the sector challenged the local vehicle assemblers to ensure production of high-quality vehicles as well as parts.
“We all acknowledge that the importation of used vehicles has led to the slump of the vehicle manufacturing sector in the country,” he said in a statement issued after the meeting which took place in the coastal city of Mombasa.
Kenyatta said 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 the motor vehicle industry that will benefit Kenyans,” he said and assured the government would give them preference when purchasing vehicles.
Manufacturing is one of the critical pillars of the Big Four 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 significant 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.
“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.
The manufacturers had among others proposed a few 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 regarding vehicle parts and components.