The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKF) has appealed to the government to continue stimulating the development of transport, fishing, and sugar sectors to spur growth of business in the western Kenya region.
According to FKE Executive Director, Jaqueline Mugo, the development of water transport on Lake Victoria has improved business and trade within the East African Community, thus spurring the region’s economic growth and employment opportunities.
“We thank the Government for the improvement of Lake Transport such as the rehabilitation of the Kisumu Port and revamping Lake Victoria transport corridor, which has boosted trade within the East African Region,” Mugo told the 42nd FKF Western Region Annual General Meeting (AGM), held in Kisumu town.
She urged the government to fast-track the plans to extend the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Naivasha to Kisumu, to enable seamless and faster cargo movement to the region.
“The region currently uses the Meter Gauge Railway from Naivasha to Kisumu. We encourage the government to upgrade this to the Standard Gauge Railway, to strengthen trade in the region,” said Mugo.
The employers commended the County Governments for prioritizing the construction of the urban road networks, contributing to quicker and cheaper movement of goods thus boosting business and trade.
Significantly, Mugo pointed out the fishing sector as a major economic activity influencing the Western region’s sectoral performance. However, she decried the massive losses experienced by cage fish farmers occasioned by low oxygen count in the water body.
She underscored the need for investors to establish fish processing plants along the lake shores, as opposed to transporting the commodity to other regions for processing.
The AGM brought together over 60 employers to deliberate on the 2022 western region sectoral performance among other issues affecting the business environment
Investors in the sugar sector, lauded the Kenya Kwanza government on its quest to privatize Sony Sugar, Miwani, Chemelil, Muhoroni and Nzoia Sugar mills, as well as Agrochemical and Food Company, to bolster their efficiency and productivity.
Western Kenya is the largest producer of sugar in Kenya supporting over 170,000 small scale farmers.
The industry, however, has invariably experienced challenges that hinder its revival and eventual growth.
“We urge the Government to support the Kenyan Sugar Industry’s growth and competitiveness by implementing regulatory frameworks, such as the Sugar Bill, which is yet to be passed by Parliament,” pleaded the stakeholders.
By Robert Ojwang’