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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

East Africa import duty increase to protect local industries

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The East African Community (EAC) member states are considering increasing import duty on finished goods in order to protect their local industries, a Kenyan official said on Monday.

Peter Munya, the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, told journalists in Nairobi that the six member states have a Common External Tariff (CET) that is currently under review.

“We are at the tail end of the discussions and all member states are in agreement that we need to raise the import duties so that we shield our local industries from foreign competition,” Munya said during a tour of the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute.

Munya said partner states will have a high level meeting to conclude talks to develop a new CET in the next two months.

Currently, the CET calls for zero percent duty on raw materials, ten percent for intermediate goods and 25 percent for finished goods.

He said member states are all keen to develop an industrial base so as to benefit from job creation and save foreign exchange used on importation of goods that can be produced locally.

Munya said Kenya has over the years experienced a huge trade deficit as imports have expanded faster than exports.

He noted that trade liberalization has seen Kenya face unfair competition from goods produced abroad and this has resulted in the stagnation of the manufacturing sector.

The CS added that Kenya is also developing a policy that will improve the competitiveness of local manufacturers.

“The policy will ensure that small and medium enterprise (SMEs) receive the necessary support to enable them expand their businesses,” he added.

The Ministry of Industry hopes that once the policy is in place, it will enable the country to overcome the challenges affecting SMEs.

Kenya has also rolled out the Big Four Agenda that prioritizes manufacturing, affordable housing, universal healthcare and food security.

             

 

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