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KNCCI roots for partnerships to revive the SMEs

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Busia Chapter is partnering with LREB for the historic event that will culminate in the second edition of the Business of the Year (BOYA) awards gala dinner.

Council of Governors (CoG) Chairman Martin Wambora will lead 14 Governors for the Lake Region Economic Block (LREB) inaugural private sector forum at the Busia Vocational Training Centre today.

Addressing the press outside the Chamber offices after a multi-sectoral meeting, Busia Chapter chairman Sylvanus Abungu said the main objective of the event is to bring together business stakeholders, the National and County Governments as well as key investment partners including key players in various sectors.

“The intention is to provide a one-day exhibition, panel discussion, engagement and networking that will position Busia and the entire Lake Region as a hub for transport, logistics, trade and commerce, as well as a destination for investment in East and Central Africa,” he said.

The chamber boss said there would be over 50 exhibition booths with local Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) given the booths for free, to motivate them to upscale their business ventures.

The KNCCI is a membership based trade support institution (TSI) working to protect commercial and industrial interests of Kenyan business community. It advocates for the creation of a favourable commercial, trade and investment environment that supports enterprise expansion. The membership of KNCCI constitutes small, micro enterprises (MSEs), medium and large enterprises.

Abungu said the conference, the first involving LREB, is geared towards removing hurdles in the bloc, noting that among the topics to be discussed includes agriculture, infrastructure, education, cross border trade, post Covid-19 effects in health and funding projects in LREB.

The BOYA which was introduced for the first time last year will see businessmen and women who have excelled in various ventures awarded. This is part of our concerted efforts to tap talents of the businessmen and women in areas they have comparative advantage.

He disclosed that the main challenge facing the LREB secretariat for eight years since its establishment is lack of policies, noting that this is attributed to its failure to bring the private sector on board.

Abungu also regretted that none of the counties in LREB has an investment policy, thus making it difficult to build flagship projects without authentic documents.

Assistant County Commissioner Philip Omuga said the conference is a big milestone and an eye opener and lauded the KNCCI Busia chapter for the initiative, while promising elaborate security for participants.

Director KNCCI and chairperson Women in Business Elizabeth Salome said lack of milk, eggs and poultry has brought value addition challenges in the production value chains, adding that this has been attributed to drought occasioned by effects of climate change.

The Lake Region Economic Bloc presents the socio-economic aspirations of 14 counties in the Lake Basin Region and seeks to boldly secure and shape the region’s destiny.

LREB is a conglomeration of 14 Kenyan counties in the Lake Victoria region namely; Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Busia, Migori, Nandi, Vihiga, Kakamega, Trans Nzioa, Kericho, Bomet, Bungoma, Nyamira and Kisii.

By Absalom Namwalo

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