KEPSA was part of key stakeholders who participated in the launch of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Manufacturing SME Hub that took place on 4th July 2019 at Sarova Stanley Hotel, Nairobi.
Speaking during the launch, KAM Chairman, Mr. Sachen Gudka noted that the Association was keen on supporting the development of inclusive, innovative, sustainable and competitive SME Sector in Kenya and in the region. He observed that Kenya’s MSMEs contribute approximately 40% of the GDP with the majority falling in the informal sector and that only 1.56 million out of 7.41 million MSMEs in Kenya, are licensed. Mr. Gudka noted that it is critical to formalize the informal segment of the MSME sector through the simplification of business start-up operations.
KAM CEO, Ms. Phyllis Wakiaga, said that the Hub would be run with clear leadership and guidance from the Board, provide for an MSME Membership Category that targets MSMEs in manufacturing with a turnover of below Ksh 20 Million. She noted that KAM remains committed to promoting the growth and expansion of SMEs in the country and positioning the industry prominently in the global market.
In her remarks, Ms. Betty Maina, Principal Secretary, State Department of Investment and Industry in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, said the hub would help streamline operations of local start-ups and enhance their competitiveness in the regional and global markets. Ms. Maina informed participants that the Government has put some funds for financing and supporting SMEs and is working on providing common manufacturing facilities for SMEs. She highlighted that the Government also continues to provide training and market for SMEs through Buy Kenya Build Kenya initiative.
In his keynote address, Dr. Eng. Karanja Kibicho, Principal Secretary, State Department of Interior informed participants that the government was keen on addressing the challenges hindering the growth of local industries, particularly SMEs. He informed the meeting that the government had committed to buy 50 locally produced products from SMEs and that the government will only buy vehicles assembled in Kenya in order to spur manufacturing.
During a panel discussion focusing on Policy and advocacy and business linkages, KEPSA SME Sector Board Chair, Mr. Richard Muteti observed that the MSME sector was busy absorbing new labour force as corporates downsized. He challenged policy makers and town planners to reserve and allocate working spaces for SMEs in order to support job creation. Muteti lauded the launch of the KAM SME HUB while noting that Kenyan MSMEs are innovative and can compete with the best in Africa if granted an enabling environment. He highlighted that MSMEs face many challenges including poor standards, inadequate financing and technology gaps. He urged Corporates to support MSMEs through the Hub by purchasing products services and paying them on time.
Other guests who spoke at the launch included Ms. Anne Mutahi, SME Advisory, Office of the President; Mr. Henry Rithaa, CEO Micro and Small Enterprise Authority (MSEA); Mr. Paul Muthaura, CEO Capital Market Authority (CMA); Humphrey Owino, Kenya Revenue Authority, Lt. Col (Rtd) Bernard Njiraini, Acting Managing Director, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Dr. Parmain ole Narikae, MD Kenya Industrial Estates and Margaret Gitau from Kenya Power.