BY MWAKERA MWAJEFA
President Uhuru Kenyatta has told manufacturers that the government is in the process of rolling out a 30 per cent power cut through a rebate system.
Through special requests, the government is considering cutbacks to the textile and steel mill subsectors by the close of this year.
Underlining the government’s investment, President Kenyatta noted that diversification of the national energy with focus on renewable like wind and geothermal energy have lowered feed-in tariffs than thermal energy.
“This year alone, we have seen the injection of over 310 megawatts of renewable energy on to our grid,” he said.
Mr Kenyatta, was speaking when he inaugurated the Bidco Industrial Park’s beverage and food processing factory in RUIRU, Kiambu County, on July 25, 2019, urged leaders to uphold peace, stability and national unity as important ingredients that attract investment.
The function was attended by Deputy President Dr William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Saying the expansion of the manufacturing sector was a crucial component of the Big 4 Agenda, the President noted it held the key to the creation of jobs for the youth.
The new factory has already created 1,000 direct jobs and 5,000 indirect jobs throughout the Bidco distribution chain apart from engaging 35,000 farmers across the country to supply them with soya and sunflower produce.
To address the various impediments that hinder the sustained growth of the local manufacturing base, he said his administration is using a ‘whole of government approach’ under the framework of the National Development and Implementation Committee that he put in place at the beginning of this year.
This committee is dealing with issues such as counterfeits and illicit goods, dumping, VAT refunds, and taxation policy on manufacturing concerns.
Others are government pending payments, energy costs, port and transport logistics delays, bureaucratic red tape, corruption, multiplicity of regulatory fees and levies, and market access for locally made goods.
Already according to him the government has started to address the huge amounts of accumulated VAT refunds saying as of July 25, 2019, Sh14.7 billion had been refunded to affected businesses while another Sh24.6 billion is currently in the process of verification by the Kenya Revenue Authority.
While hosting Botswana President Eric Mokgweetsi Masisi during his three-day visit in the country, Mr Kenyatta invited his investors to set up shop in Kenya to exploit the emerging trade and investment opportunities.
In a state banquet held for the visiting Head of State at State House on July 24, 2019 and attended by Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, President Kenyatta assured the foreign investors of his administration’s support for their businesses.
On table for Kenyans’ investors through the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre are areas such as financial services, agro-processing, animal feeds, ICT, hotels and lodges.
President Masisi praised the special bond of friendship and historic links that Botswana and Kenya enjoy saying the high level engagements between the two countries accords the opportunity to revitalize their bilateral cooperation.
On the first day of his official visit on July 23, 2019, Kenya and Botswana signed three key agreements, opening a new chapter of cooperation between the two African countries.
The agreements covered bilateral trade, air transport and ICT signed at the end of talks between President Kenyatta and his Botswana counterpart Masisi at State House in Nairobi.
Addressing a joint press conference, Mr Kenyatta cited minerals and mining sector, livestock breeding, trade, tourism promotion, agribusiness and manufacturing as areas of cooperation.
On his part, President Masisi pledged to support Kenya’s bid for the non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the period 2021 to 2022.
“Kenya asked that we support its candidature for the opportunity to be voted into the security council of the United Nations on non-permanent basis, and we assure that Botswana will vote for Kenya even before Kenya votes for itself,” he said.
He commended Kenya for its leading role in promoting regional security and stability, particularly in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.