I welcome and congratulate H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta for the various measures he has taken on the economic front. These are the issues I have been shouting myself hoarse about. However, whilst the measures are good, there are several areas they have fallen short
1. On Milk, whilst it is good to impose 16% VAT on imported milk outside the EAC, this is not where the problem lies. The only problem is Lato Milk which comes from Uganda and Kenyan milk processors who move to Uganda due to the low cost of production there, process the milk and re-export it to Kenyan.
I urge H.E the President to impose 45% VAT on all milk and milk products from Uganda in order to protect the Kenyan farmer. In addition, we are preparing legislation in the house to set the Guaranteed Minimum Return at Ksh 45 per liter of milk and look forward to working with the Executive to implement the same
2. On Coffee, the operationalization of the Cherry Advance is a positive development. The domiciling of the cooperatives sector within the Agriculture Ministry will go a long way to reduce the hand-offs and bureaucracies in the coffee sector.
We are equally working on legislation in the House to set the Guaranteed Minimum Return for Coffee at Ksh 100 per kilo of cherry and look forward to working with the executive to implement the same
3. On tea, the emphasis on KTDA reform and measures to stop haphazard tea hawking are noted. However, the complete zero-rating of all local teas is what will see our export of value-added branded teas go up to 90%. We will move the relevant legislation in the house to zero-rate local teas for our value addition processors to enjoy a competitive advantage in the global market. Further, we are working on legislation to set a Guaranteed Minimum Return of Ksh 100 per kilo of tea
4. On potatoes, rice and bananas, the Ksh 300 Million for processing plants in Meru, Nyandarua, and Kisii are welcome. However, the biggest problem remains the ineffective governors from these regions namely Waiguru, Nyongo, Ongwae, Kinyanjui, and Kimemia.
We wish the President will demand that before the MSMEA releases these funds, the respective governors will add Ksh 1 billion each from their devolved funds to expand processing capacity and invest in export marketing and branding of the processed potatoes, rice, and bananas.
5. On the BBI and the enabling political environment, the measures announced are very much welcome. The only additional input is to advise all and sundry that for BBI to work, the involvement, active participation, and respect for the Deputy President William Ruto is not a ‘Nice to Have’; It is a ‘Must Have’. It’s not an option. It is imperative. Otherwise, the BBI will be dead on arrival