Simon Muturi Ngugi
What is your understanding of the Big Four Agenda?
It is a four-point agenda by President Uhuru Kenyatta, outlining what he will be focusing on in his last presidential term to improve the living standards of Kenyans, grow the economy and leave a lasting legacy. The Big Four Agenda items are: Food security, manufacturing (mainly focusing on job creation in this area), affordable universal health care and affordable housing.
What do you think it will take to achieve it?
Credit/points system for companies: The Government should adopt a credit system where companies giving internships and employment opportunities are awarded points that they can redeem at the end to enable them get tax cuts. This will encourage employment in the private sector.
Becoming our own customer: Companies like RIVATEX, KIKOMI and Webuye Pan Paper Mills have fallen because of the rise in imports to our country. The Government should impose high taxes on imports and encourage “Buy Kenya Build Kenya’’ to create market for our local goods. This will increase sales and in turn lead to creation of more jobs.
Free market: The Government should create a free market and improve the ease of doing business. This will encourage companies to invest in Kenya, which will boost foreign investment and create employment.
Export Processing Zones (EPZs): The Government should increase the number of EPZs to encourage more companies to invest in the country hence establishing Kenya as a manufacturing hub. This will in turn create employment.
Subsidies: The Government should offer production subsidies to local companies for different inputs such as energy and fuel to encourage establishment of local manufacturing industries.
E-commerce platforms: The Government should collaborate with the private sector to establish an e- commerce platform such as China’s Alibaba. This will open global markets for Kenyan products and create opportunities for manufacturers. Increased exports translate to more income for Kenyans.
Globalization of trade: The Government should source for new global markets for Kenyan exports to increase exports and hence improve the manufacturing sector.
Devaluation of the currency to boost exports: The Government should devalue the Kenyan currency to attract countries with stronger currencies to come and invest in Kenya. Countries like China have done so and attracted many investors to their country. If Kenya could also adopt this idea, I believe it will increase foreign investments and contribute to creation of more employment opportunities. This will also boost economic growth through the contribution of taxes and foreign currency to Kenya.
Promotion of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions: The Government should set up more TVET institutions to encourage technical specialization among the Kenyan workforce, which is very important for growth of the manufacturing industry. TVET institutions will create more training opportunities for youth, and not just limit them to university education, hence increasing their employability.
More incubation hubs like Nailab, Metta and Moringa: The Government should encourage the setting up of incubation hubs to nurture new ideas and introduce them to the market. This will help young people to develop their ideas into innovative solutions. Some of the ideas can lead to the development of companies that will employ Kenyans and contribute to the generation of revenue.
Where do you see yourself playing a role?
My greatest contribution to the manufacturing sector will be after my university education when I can apply the knowledge I have acquired.
My contribution can also be through mobilizing youth to participate in budget making in the county and national government. This is through groups such as Pwani Youth Network in Mombasa and Siasa Place in Nairobi where youth are empowered to participate in the budget making processes.