“There’s already an existing market amongst East African Countries which can be harnessed to fuel Small Medium Enterprises, spur cross-border trade and create employment in the process.”
These are the words of Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago during the official opening of the 19th EAC Jua Kali Nguvu Kazi Exhibition in Eldoret.
Uasin Gishu is hosting the annual exhibition at Eldoret Sports Club. Exhibitors from across the six East African countries are showcasing their products in the event that began on Sunday through Wednesday next week.
Governor Mandago says the region’s member countries boast enough markets. “It has taken us long to realize that we have markets amongst us but I thank EAC through the presidents of member countries for always working to streamline and strengthen trade.”
“My Government has Sh 41 million for lending to SMEs as we appreciate that these small businesses are immensely important for the country’s economy,” added Mandago.
Cabinet Secretary for Trade and Industrialization, Hon Peter Munya, said the government is keen on small enterprises.
“The Government is establishing an authority that will set policies and frameworks and also incorporates counties for the success of Jua Kali industry,” said CS Munya, who paid a courtesy call to Governor Mandago’s office in the morning.
“The Kenya Small and Medium Enterprises Authority is being established to spur the success of the small enterprises, which are credited for 95 percent of Kenya’s job creation,” he adds.
CS Munya said issues raised during a recent meeting by President Uhuru Kenyatta and officials of SMEs are being addressed, among them interests on loans.
“…those issues are being looked into and the President asked me to tell you that you are doing a good job.”
Munya also said the government is buying equipment and machines for Common User Facilities in towns so as to serve people in Jua Kali industry.
Other issues that the government is looking into is the improvement of conditions in sites of operation, establishing infrastructure as well as capacity building in form of training for people in the industry.
Uasin Gishu deputy Governor Daniel Chemno said: “Industrial revolution in every country begins with Jua Kali Industry. Uasin Gishu is proud to host this event as artisans will have a chance to showcase their products and perhaps establish markets.”
A number of leaders who spoke also touched on the need to reduce taxes that stalk the Jua Kali industry, including intervening to reduce banking charges and interests as an incentive to grow the sector.
Tanzania’s Ambassador to Kenya, Dr Pindi Hazara Chana, Principal Secretary for Trade, Dr Chris Kiptoo, businessman David Lagat (DL) and several other officials from the Ministry as well as East Africa Community were at the event. A number of MCAs were also in attendance.
CECs Dr Emily Kogos (Trade and ICT), Esther Mutai (Cooperatives), several chief officers and other county officers also attended the function.