Importers of foreign vehicles are staring at bleak times ahead if remarks by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday are anything to go by.
The head of state affirmed his unwavering resolve to safeguard local car manufacturers against unfair competition and ensure a conducive environment for their businesses to thrive.
The president stated that the government will ensure money from Kenyan taxpayers is used to purchase locally manufactured products first and that no amount of court cases by the aggrieved parties would change that decision.
“We want to ensure Kenyan tax goes first to purchase products made from our country by our people and we will not relent. I’m very clear on that. Even if they go to court 20 times you cannot bypass someone who sells his products in Kenya and go to buy outside. They can go everywhere they want,” said Uhuru.
Uhuru was speaking during the launch of a Toyota Hilux assembly plant in Mombasa linked to Associated Vehicle Assemblers (AVA).
He noted that local manufacturing industries, which are a key factor in economic growth and jobs creation, were being adversely affected by imported goods blaming the judicial system for being sympathetic to rogue business people to the disadvantage of local companies.
“Those who will listen to them let them know it is our youths they are making to suffer, it’s our children they are denying jobs, it’s our economy they are fighting,” he cautioned.
The president’s remarks echo the order he issued barely a year ago, on March 13, 2019 directing state agencies to purchase cars assembled locally instead of importing vehicles.
During the event, Mr Kenyatta, accompanied by French President Emmanuel Macron commissioned a locally assembled vehicle, Peugeot 3008, SUV by the PGA Group based in Thika partnering with Kenya Vehicle Assemblers.