Kenya is considering affirmative action for local manufacturers in government procurement in order to boost industrialization, a senior government official said on Tuesday.
Peter Munya, outgoing cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Enterprise Development, told a forum in Nairobi that the government is currently developing a list of goods that public bodies will source exclusively from domestic producers.
“The overall objective of the affirmative action is to provide a market for locally produced goods,” Munya said during the small and medium enterprise (SMEs) conference and expo.
More than 50 SMEs are exhibiting their products during the two-day event that brought together policymakers and small entrepreneurs to review ways to boost the sector.
The Ministry of Industry will also develop a mechanism to enforce affirmative action in order to shield local manufacturers from foreign competition.
Munya said that the government is the largest purchaser of goods and therefore could be leveraged to expand the market for domestic manufacturers.
He added that the move to protect local industrialists is also aimed at increasing employment opportunities for the thousands of youth who enter the job market annually.
He noted that currently, the informal sector which is difficult to tax is a significant source of livelihood for the majority of the country’s labor force.
Munya said that the list of products that will be reserved for domestic producers will gradually increase as Kenya’s industrial capacity expands.
He noted that the country’s manufacturing sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) has been declining in the past five years. Enditem