Import orders by State entities in the first 10 months of the just ended financial year dropped by Sh11.53 billion, partly signalling progress in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s call for higher domestic products quota in public procurement.
Supplies into State ministries, departments and agencies ordered from foreign countries fell to Sh35.64 billion in the July 2018-April 2019 period, latest official statistics show, a 23.83 percent decline compared to Sh46.80 billion in the same period last year.
Mr Kenyatta has since December 2014 instructed ministries and parastatals to increase the quota of locally produced goods in support of the “Buy Kenyan and Build Kenya” initiative.
The Central Bank of Kenya, nonetheless, shows the import bill has surged in five years through last financial year ended June 2018 when they stood at Sh57.59 billion.
Trade Secretary Peter Munya has said the State was reviving a plan to prohibit ministries and other government agencies from importing some products, a protectionist strategy mooted around 2015.
The list of restricted products, he added, will include products which are readily available locally such as furniture, staff uniforms, pharmaceuticals and vehicles.
The Presidential order directing ministries and government departments to only buy locally-assembled vehicles has, for instance, been in place since December 2016.
This was in a bid to boost demand for cars assembled in Kenya for automakers such as Volkswagen of Germany and French Peugeot which re-entered Kenyan market in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
“The list of restricted goods is almost ready for gazettement. The (Public Procurement and Asset Disposal) regulations which will provide for penalties and disciplinary measures for those who defy are also almost ready for implementation,” Mr Munya said on June 19.