The Principal Secretary in the State Department of East Africa Community (EAC), Dr. Kevit Desai has called for strong and effective Public-Private sector partnership in Uasin Gishu County and the country at large to utilize the available market opportunities provided in the EAC regional economic bloc.
Speaking during a roundtable discussion with a multi-agency team drawn from the county government, national administration and the private sector as well as Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA), to address challenges faced by the business community to improve ease of doing business, Dr. Desai pointed out that Uasin Gishu has great potential in trade, services and manufacturing.
“Uasin Gishu is a prominent business opportunity due to the fact that it is the gateway for one of the largest markets in the world as it is located in an area that expands into the East Africa Community, a 7-member state with a total consumerism of 300 million people,” said Dr. Desai.
The PS was responding to recommendations by the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Eldoret chapter through their chairperson Willy Kenei aimed at realizing full exploitation of the EAC economic bloc by manufacturers and other business operators.
The Uasin Gishu business community had raised the challenges of cess charges and the inter-county tariffs, sensitization and awareness of the EAC market by the Medium and Small Enterprises (MSEs) sector, the establishment of special economic zones to promote manufacturing by the private sector, the issue of sanitation, multiple businesses licensing among others.
Dr. Desai assured the business community of the national government’s close collaboration with the county government and its commitment through joint programmes to provide solutions to the challenges outlined to enable the business fraternity unlock the full potential of the local and international market.
“Various structures have been proposed, for instance, in the case of Uasin Gishu County, the members have agreed to establish a better framework to address the challenges within the Council of Governors (CoG) to increase the possibilities of more business with consolidated, rationalized and harmonized business transactions across the counties and nations in terms of performance and competitiveness,” he said.
At the same time, the PS commended the private sector’s move to support the government in addressing the issue of counterfeit goods and compliance through self-regulation and community participation by providing intelligence to enable the government through its multi-agency framework to improve trade across borders.
He noted that the establishment and nourishment of a symbiotic relationship between the public and the private sector is key in ensuring the fulfilment of the development goals of the nation and the counties through the promotion of high levels of productivity, efficiency and innovation as far as policy legislations and regulations are concerned.
Dr. Desai further lauded the inclusion of the DRC into the EAC and urged Kenyan entrepreneurs to venture into the expanded market opportunity which now extends to about 5.5 million square metres of land with a total consumerism of 300 million people.
“We have also established great levels of development in the common market protocol, in particular, we are developing the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) charter to ensure increased inclusion of SMEs in trade, services and manufacturing. This would mean certain markets would be guaranteed to the SME sector in addition to the fact that certain focus and facilitation would be on key sectors that are vibrant within the context of EAC,” said PS Dr. Desai.
The PS hinted that the EAC had developed resolutions towards the African continent’s free trade area by promoting further access to another 44 countries and 900 million people worth of consumerism to ensure local manufacturing and produce within the EAC through common external tariffs is nurtured to build the full potential of possibilities to promote industrialization.
Present at the event were Uasin Gishu County Commissioner Dr. Eddyson Nyale, KRA senior officials, State Department of EAC senior officials, Senior National and County Officials, KNCCI leadership among others.
By Ekuwam Sylvester