KAM and TMEA have signed a Grant Agreement for Advocacy Support on Non-Tariff Barriers, Standards and Counterfeits.
Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) have today signed a two year agreement that will see an extension of a financial grant to KAM for supporting KAMs advocacy work in the area of Non Tariff Barriers, Standards and Counterfeits, KAM Chief Executive Ms. Phyllis Wakiaga has said.
This is the second phase of TMEAs partnership with KAM aimed at creating a better business environment for industry and to enhance the sector’s competitiveness in the region. “TMEA’s keenness to support KAM has carved out a productive space for advocacy and engagement with the necessary sections of the government,” said Ms. Wakiaga.
TMEA Kenya Country Director, Dr. Chris Kiptoo said the partnership aims to support KAM’s policy and advocacy work as well as engagement with the relevant authorities in a bid to address the challenges identified in the first phase of this partnership. “We are looking into implementing advocacy campaigns especially related to Non-Tariff Barriers, Trade in Counterfeits, Anomalies in the Common External Tarrif (CET) and access to trade and Market Information,” said Dr. Kiptoo.
He pointed out that the first phase of the project focused on building and evidence base for advocacy in the key priority areas identified by KAM which include tax reforms in Kenya, cost of quality compliance, Domestic non-tariff barriers affecting industry in Kenya, Constitutional issues affecting business, overlapping regulatory roles and the severity of counterfeits.
Ms. Wakiaga emphasized on the need for intervention in the areas manufacturers face challenges so as to ensure a competitive business environment is realised. “Our manufacturing sector has remained stagnant at 11 percent of GDP over the past ten years. As a result, the number of formal jobs in manufacturing has grown at just 7 percent per year over the past four years. Our exports have stagnated at 15 percent of GDP, while imports have grown to 40 percent of GDP creating a trade imbalance. These gaps can only be closed by revitalising our industrial sector,” she said.
She cited the recently signed Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement saying KAM is keen in ensuring that global competitiveness is achieved. “For global integration to deliver we need to ensure that regional integration within the EAC is working and thus strengthening of the EAC will be key.”
KAM Head of Finance Ms. Zipporah Maina lauded the support that has been extended by TMEA over the years which has bore much fruit. “It’s pleasing to note that most of the recommendations made by KAM out of the first phase of this project were taken up by government. These included recommendations on the VAT act and Non Tariff Barriers that saw eight institutions come on board as signatories to the Mombasa Port Charter. We have also seen a lot of interagency collaboration in the fight against counterfeits.” She said.
KAM Manufacturing Priority Agenda 2014 identified trade hindrances, unfriendly tax regimes and proliferation of counterfeit goods as some of the areas that contribute to the increased cost of doing business and lead to the reduction of regional trade.