The Kenyan Constitution provides for public participation in the formulation of public policies, laws and other serious engagements that the government plans to undertake. The Kenya Auto Bazaar Association (Kaba) has restated its opposition to the government’s proposed policy on imported used cars, terming it a “total failure”. The policy will ‘kill’ the local industry, Kaba said Yesterday, noting the industry is not as vibrant as the public imagines.
Kaba chairman Major (Rtd.) John Kipchumba complained that his association was kept in the dark during the drafting of the policy. Kipchumba said Kenyans have deliberately been misled into believing the country has a vibrant local automotive manufacturing industry. The plan caused uproar among used vehicle dealers who claim it is a ploy by the government to punish the poor.
At a recent briefing, Mr Munya said they consulted widely before the policy was drafted and that the aggrieved have the alternative of importing smaller cars with the eight-year limit or buying from the local market. According to Mr. Kipchumba, he says that not everyone will support a policy because it is not a consensus-building process.
Trade and Industry Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya says the Draft National Automotive Policy, prepared by his ministry, proposes to limit the age of imported used cars with engine capacities of more that 1500 cc from eight years to five this year, and then to three years in 2021.
Mr Munya says the plan is intended to promote the local car manufacturing industry but Kaba chairman Major (Rtd.) John Kipchumba laughed this off saying that for a very long time, “Kenyans have deliberately been misled into believing the country has a vibrant local automotive manufacturing industry”.
“If the ministry insists that the country has local automotive manufacturers, can the ministry then publicly table a list of local companies currently manufacturing cars or even vehicle components in Kenya and confirm if they are, indeed, also meeting the 40 percent local content requirement?”
Mr Munya’s assertions may have been informed by the activities of motor companies such as Isuzu East Africa along Mombasa road in Nairobi, Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers Limited (KVM) in Thika and the Associated Vehicle Assemblers Limited (AVA) in Mombasa. He challenged the three companies to “come out and clearly explain to the Kenyan public who they really are and exactly what they do”. Mr Kipchumba reminded him that these companies are not local but importers and assemblers of semi-knocked down parts and essentially local agents of auto manufacturing companies based abroad.
Addressing journalists, Mr Kipchumba complained that his association was kept in the dark during the drafting of the policy, which he vowed to fight it all the way to the courts. Mr Kipchumba claimed that Kaba’s request to have dialogue with the CS was met with a “dead ear” and wondered whether Mr Munya is “above the law”.