The country risks losing over Sh2.8 billion daily generated into the economy from the manufacturing sector if the ongoing protests continue unabated, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has said.
While acknowledging that every person has the right to, peaceably and unarmed, assemble, demonstrate, picket, and present petitions to public authorities, KAM says it is critical that it should be done while safeguarding every Kenyan and without interrupting enterprises or destroying property.
They said investors rely heavily on a stable political and social environment that assures the safety of their investments whilst guaranteeing that business operations will not be disrupted, adding that Kenya’s reputation as an attractive investment hub is at risk following these demonstrations.
“Our manufacturing sector contribution to the Kenyan economy stands at about 1 trillion shillings as per the Economic Survey 2023. This translates to approximately 2.86 billion shillings daily in value addition. Therefore, the country stands to lose up to 2.86 billion shillings daily if the protests continue to disrupt businesses as we have witnessed in the last two weeks.” KAM Chairman Rajan Shah told a news conference in Nairobi today.
“The ongoing protests have dealt a significant blow to the manufacturing sector. We share the pain of most of our members who have reported that numerous businesses have experienced disruptions, hindering their day-to-day operations. This has led to severe financial losses for businesses of all sizes, affecting not only their growth but also the livelihoods of their employees. In some instances, some businesses and retail outlets have borne the brunt of angry protesters who vandalized their enterprises.”
Additionally, according to KAM, the protests have created uncertainty and fear making it quite challenging for employees to travel safely to work, adding that the safety of consumers visiting business premises has been gravely jeopardized further aggravating the already challenging situation.
Underscoring the huge contribution of the sector to economic prosperity, the manufacturers’ umbrella body said its ambitious plan to grow the manufacturing sector contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) threefold from the current 7.8% to 20% by 2030, may not be achievable if the socio-political impasse persists.
The body further noted that the continuous demonstrations have severely disrupted the logistics and supply chain networks essential for the smooth flow of manufactured products to the end consumers, which has hampered the ability to transport raw materials and finished goods thereby affecting the entire manufacturing process, leading to delays and increased costs.
While observing that the violence will not help alleviate the pain of the high cost of living but instead increase it further by directly impacting the availability of essential products in the market, they said it will lead to potential shortages and price volatility.
Saying the Kenya constitution provided excellent mechanisms of solving disputes, they called on all independent institutions, including the National Police Service, NCIC, parliament and the Judiciary, to employ their Constitutional mandates independently to find lasting solution to the current stalemate.
“The Kenyan Constitution has sufficient ways to address grievances through various institutions such as Parliament, Judiciary, and other independent bodies. We urge all Kenyans that, we have an equal responsibility to prioritize and maintain peace, stability, and the long-term well-being of our beloved country, Kenya.” KAM Chairman urged, flanked by two other officials.