Thika MP Tables a bill to regulate imports, boost job creation.

Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina has tabled a private members’ Bill aimed at regulating the imports into the country with a view to protect local manufacturers and create more jobs in the country.

The Bill, which was referred to the House Business Committee for consideration, is meant to protect Kenyan farmers and small enterpreneurs being driven out of the market by cheap importations that are readily available locally.  

The MP explains that the legislation seeks to impose hefty penalties on imported products that are locally available in order to protect domestic producers. 

“When you import cheap eggs and oranges from South Africa, you are creating jobs there and killing our own here. We are also creating mega jobs in China as we allow cheap imports for things that we can produce locally. This has to change,” said Wainaina.

Among the products the MP has targeted include oranges and eggs from South Africa as well as toothpicks, matchboxes and wheelbarrows from China.

Wainaina however clarified that his bill was not meant to ban these imports but its primary objective was to make local businesses or industries more competitive through restricting the quantity of imports entering the country. He added that they will also seek to introduce subsidies in order to lower the cost of production and enable local producers to generate profits at lower price levels.

“I am  proposing to peg the minimum import duty of 10% so that we do not flood the country with things that are already produced locally at the expense of those producing them. That way,we are going to create more market for our goods and consequently create more jobs,” he explained.

Wainaina noted that the Kenyan small-scale farmers and jua kali artisans have remained chronically poor despite working very hard to produce their goods as a result the inequalities in trade.

The MP appealed to his colleagues in the 12th House to support his bill as the citizens’ welfare remained paramount.

The proposed Bill is expected to give a major boost to agricultural growth as moderating importation will avoid hurting local farmers through excessive importation. 

According to the Thika legislator, it was high time the country developed economic policies that focused on creating an environment where citizens had robust employment opportunities.

“The best way of ensuring a country’s prosperity is when it manages to make few imports but many exports. This way, they are able to generate a net inflow of foreign exchange and maximising the country’s product stocks,” explained Wainaina who is an established middle-level industrialist in the country.

Wainaina noted that for a developing country such as a Kenya, the priority should be on how to quickly create millions of jobs for the poor who have limited purchasing power and limited capital for investment. He added that an industrial revolution could only be spawned by rising productivity and incomes especially in agriculture as well as an increased demand for manufactured goods.

He advised policy makers within government to utilise agriculture as a source of economic growth and job creation by introducing policy measures to upgrade technology, improve skills, raise productivity, ensure the supply of essential inputs, establish marketing and distribution channels, create linkages between agriculture and industry, and cater to export markets.

He also pointed out the need to promote small enterprises through training, credit, marketing and distribution channels specifically designed to cater to the needs of the self-employed and small firms.


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