Kepsa issues action plan amid rising cost of living

Tuesday, May 24th, 2022 08:00 | By
Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) Chief executive Carole Kariuki.

The private sector has presented a raft of action plans aimed at helping the government to address the dire economic situation the country faces in the run-up to the August 9 General Election.

It wants the government to enhance predictability in the tax regime by actualising the National Tax Policy in consultation with members, developing standard protocols for dealing with non-compliant businesses and sensitisation of businesses on regulatory requirements to enhance compliance.

Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) Chief executive Carole Kariuki said the recommendations will fast-track businesses and economic recovery by mitigating the effects of the Covid-19, rising food prices and the ongoing drought.

“Sustained business incentives including tax, and regulatory reforms for economic competitiveness, guaranteed security, and smooth transition of leadership after the elections and curbing the high cost of food production should be of top priority in 2022,” she said.

Roundtable engagement

Kariuki was speaking during the third roundtable engagement between Kepsa and the National Development Implementation Communication Cabinet Committee (NDICCC), headed by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i in Nairobi yesterday.

“We need to explore alternative markets for key products sourced from Ukraine and Russia such as edible oils, wheat, steel, and fertiliser,” she said.

Kenya imports 60 per cent of its wheat from Russia. Disruption of supplies has caused millers to resort to expensive imports from other source markets, Kariuki said, noting that time was rife to move away from relying on rain-fed agriculture and adopting measures to increase irrigation as part of the measures to address the impact of climate change and drought.

To mitigate the food security effects of supply disruption caused by the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war, Kepsa recommended that the government lifts the ban on wheat imports from India as millers explore alternate sources for wheat, maize, edible oil, and animal feed raw materials as well as temporary exemptions on import duty for maize and wheat.

“We are also asking the government to grant full exemption to bonafide food and feed millers on import duty charged on maize for six months and twelve months for wheat to cushion consumers and local farmers,” she said.

Source markets

The government has waived import duty on the importation of six million bags of maize, though Kepsa is urging the duration be extended from the deadline of August 6 to cover large source markets like Mexico that can take between 45 to 60 days sailing.

Kepsa has also asked for the remodelling of the fertiliser subsidy scheme from the current National Cereal and Produce Board led procurement model to an integrated e-voucher system, to ensure fertiliser subsidy benefits smallholder farmers.

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