Uhuru directs State agencies to buy locally made products
Billions spent by State organs could help spur creativity, grow local manufacturing industry and cut on costs
President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed procurement officers in ministries and State departments to purchase locally manufactured products as the government looks to increase capacity ofthe country’s ICT sector. The president said it was prudent for the billions of shillings spent by State organs to be redirected in sourcing from the local market and help spur innovation, grow the local manufacturing industry and cut on costs. “The Government spends billions of shillings in importing various systems some of which do not work and we have paid huge amounts in licence fees yet the same products are available locally,” explained Uhuru. He said time has come when public procurement officers must establish local solution to service their needs. “If we did not have the capacity it would be a different matter, but we have seen them work and it is possible to make this happen,” he stated. President Kenyatta was speaking at the first edition of the Kenya ICT Innovation Forum organised by the Ministry of ICT in partnership with the private sector to showcase various innovative products and opportunities available in the sector. The twoday forum, which ended yesterday, is the first ofthe annual event which brings together hundreds of stakeholders from the country’s government ministries, telecommunication and software companies, incubation labs and learning institutions. Mr Mike Macharia, CEO of Seven Seas Technologies and one of the lead organisers of the event reckons the private sector has committed to generate 180,000 jobs each year in the ICT sector and have it contribute up to eight per cent to the Gross Domestic Product by the year 2020.
“We need a local content policy to help build capacity and we need to start commercialising research and development and intellectual property to help us make this work,” he said. Macharia further asked the Government to hasten the establishment of Enterprise Kenya, a national accelerator which will be used by innovators to develop their products and solutions. On his part, Uhuru promised his government’s cooperation and goodwill in the PublicPrivate Partnership to build the country’s ICT sector. “All these innovations that we have seen here today and that have been proved to be working should be put in touch with the government,” he said. “The forensic apps for example, why can’t the police use them instead of importing expensive solutions from outside? Government procurement should be used to develop our innovators first and we should use our money to prop local industries.”
Article Courtesy of Frankline Sunday- The standard