The government is in the process of establishing a Medium and Small Enterprises fund to help players in the sector access credit to expand their ventures.
The Principal Secretary (PS) in the State Department for Industrialization, Dr. Francis Owino said his ministry was in talks with the National Treasury to finalize guidelines before the fund is rolled out.
Dr. Owino said the MSE fund to be operationalised as an affirmative fund, targets to boost performance of the sector to become a key driver of the economy.
Access to credit, he said was a major hindrance to expansion of the sector which has the capacity to turn around the country’s economy.
“One of the biggest challenges is access to funds. The banking industry is not very friendly to the MSE sector,” he said.
The proposed MSE fund, he said will come in handy to augment other affirmative action funds among them the Youth Enterprise Fund, Women Enterprise Fund and the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) to ensure entrepreneurs have access to credit.
The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), he said is working on standards for various products from the MSE sector to ensure that they compete effectively with others in the market.
The two initiatives, he disclosed were part of the ongoing reforms to be enforced with a new policy being developed by the state department for industrialization.
Dr. Owino said MSEs Policy seeks to harmonize the existing policies and law to be in tandem with the constitution and to address the challenges facing the sector.
He said the review was critical to streamline operations in the sector since the existing policy was developed in 2012 prior to the implementation of the new constitution.
“We have a new constitution, the sector has grown and with the integration of ICT a lot of innovations are coming up. Therefore we need a policy framework to address all these emerging issues,” he said.
Speaking in Kisumu on Monday during a stakeholders consultative forum on the draft policy, Dr. Owino said the process is expected to be concluded by end of March this year.
The government, he said was determined to reposition the sector as the main driver of the manufacturing pillar of the big four agenda.
As a result, he said 37 Constituency Industrial Development Centers (CIDC’s) across the country have been revived and equipped with lathe machines.
He said the equipment will go a long way in assisting the MSEs develop spare parts and other high quality products.
By the end of this financial year, he said all the remaining CIDC’s across the country shall be up and running.
By Chris Mahandara/Belinda Ochola