Manufacturers call for ease in import regulations amid Covid-19 pandemic

KAM CEO Phillis Wakiaga. Image|Courtesy

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has called on the government to ease regulations on importation of raw materials, following the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

In a memo to Treasury, KAM wants imports on intermediate goods and machineries be reviewed where ports of origin have been closed down.

“Government should ease regulations on importation of raw materials, intermediate goods, industrial spares and machineries especially where ports of origin have been closed down and inspecting agencies are not operating optimally,” read part of the memo to Treasury Principal Secretary Julius Muia.

The Association is also pushing for faster processing of Value Added Tax refunds to thrust liquidity drained by slow demand as a result of Covid-19 effects to the economy.

The memo outlines measures that will enable the sector to return to normalcy and/or adopting to new normal in post Covid-19 pandemic.

Part of the measures include the creation of emergency rescue fund, supported by development partners, which will identify and support the most vulnerable businesses and entrepreneurs affected the pandemic.

It further calls on the Treasury to push for increased moratorium for bank loan repayments including interest to 6-12 months.

KAM says interest rates should further be pushed down to eight percent and the entire loan and overdraft books granted a full waiver for the three months.

“In addition to direct cash transfers (helicopter money) to targeted individuals, indirect transfers to individuals through the manufacturers could be considered,” continued the memo.

As one of the hard-hit sector, the association said the measures put in place to stimulate the economy like reduced corporate income taxes, Value Added Tax and the other measures will begin bearing fruit after the pandemic.

The sector, which employs about 300,000 people directly and 3 million people indirectly, has been forced to cut operations and shed employees since the pandemic struck the country.

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