MSMEs asked to take advantage of trade incentives to transform themselves

Assistant Minister for Industrialization Hon. Ndiritu Muriithi has urged Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to take advantage of the incentives offered by government to grow their business.
It has been established that most MSMEs were not utilizing what has already been offered by the government such as tax incentives noting that this made it difficult for them to grow and have their products more competitive on the market.
He said there was need for MSMEs to acquire business certificates in order to benefit from tax incentives adding that having their products properly certified by a standards body will also increase their chances of marketing their products easily on the East African common market.

"As much as the government is keen on supporting such businesses to grow, it is up to the individual business to go out of their way to embrace the incentives already offered on the table by the government," said the assistant minister.
Muriithi at the same time asked corporates and development partners to come on board and support the MSMEs in order to supplement government efforts to grow such ventures.

"We cannot create jobs if we do not support small business" said Muriithi, adding that when businesses are small they need support to grow since the government is keen on creating wealth and jobs to improve the country's economy.
The assistant minister was speaking at a Nairobi hotel during the Jitihada II Gala Night organized to award winners in the National Business Plan Competition, a programme coordinated by the Ministry of Industrialization. He reiterated the government's strong commitment towards supporting such initiatives as part of efforts towards achieving Kenya Vision 2030.
Jitihada is designed to assist current and emerging entrepreneurs to overcome constraints faced by the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector and to create an environment that spawns creative business ideas that can be effectively implemented within the context of the global economy.
Industrialization Permanent Secretary Dr. (Eng). Karanja Kibicho said that the country was importing basic items such as eggs and toothpicks that could otherwise be made locally in the country.

He said that manufacturing products locally enables the country to create jobs while importing such items into the country is equivalent to exporting Kenyan jobs to the countries involved in manufacturing the products.
"To break from exporting jobs to other countries which creates trade deficit that is occasioned by import-export imbalance, we must make sure that we are manufacturing them in this country" said the PS.

He said that the ministry is committed to creating polices that support initiatives such as Jitihada to ensure the country's citizens and products are competitive.
Industrialization Secretary, Eng. John Mosonik who chairs the Jitihada Board, said that the Jitihada Phase 1 competition attracted 2,092 applications against a target of 1,575 while phase II competition attracted 3,494 applications against a target of 3,000. He said that the enthusiasm demonstrated by the members of the public is a profound demonstration by Kenyans on their eagerness to participate in the development of their business skills.
MSME Competitiveness Project was established eight years ago by the Government through a credit facility from the World Bank with an aim of increasing employment, productivity and competitiveness of the participating MSMEs. The project which seeks to strengthen enterprise skills and market linkages introduced a business plan/Innovation Competition through best practice models to encourage innovative business ideas.
Jitihada II competition which has now been running for one year began in June 2011. This phase laid emphasis on the manufacturing sector and value addition, a focus that is in line with the Ministry's mandate.

The Kenya Institute of Management (KIM) led consortium, which includes JKUAT and Technoserve were the implementing partners who steered the Competition through the MSME competitive project under the ministry of Industrialization. During the Galla Night event, Stawi Ltd was awarded the first prize of Kshs.1million.

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