Local pharmaceutical manufacturers have scored a major win after the government stopped the importation of drugs and medical equipment whose alternatives are produced locally.
Industrialisation CS Peter Munya said government departments would not be allowed to bring into Kenya pharmaceutical products already available in the market.
He said the move would enable local pharmaceutical firms to enjoy easier market access.
The ban is among measures that local firms have been handed to shore up local manufacturing in line with the government’s Big Four Agenda.
Manufacturing is among the core pillars of the agenda and is being pushed to account for 15 per cent of Kenya’s economic output by 2022, up from less than 10 per cent recorded last year.
Mr Munya, who spoke on Tuesday when launching a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Kajiado County, said government agencies will now have to certify that medical equipment and drugs they intend to procure from foreign suppliers are not available in the market.
The plant at the Export Processing Zone in Athi River is owned by B Braun, global providers and manufacturers of healthcare solutions.
“We are making a master list of all items that will be strictly purchased from local suppliers. There will be severe action taken against agencies flouting this policy,” he said.
The ministry expects to get legal backing from a proposed law that will require government officials to produce a bulk of their supplies locally.
The Cabinet has already passed a Bill that will amend the Public Procurement and Disposal Act with the aim of entrenching the ‘Buy Kenya, Build Kenya’ strategy in law.
The Bill will compel government agencies and the contractors they hire to purchase at least 40 per cent local produce.
The amendments to the Procurement Act are meant to encourage small and medium-sized businesses to develop new products to support manufacturing.
Local producers and manufacturers have decried gaping loopholes in regulations meant to protect domestic suppliers against cheap imports.
B Braun Pharmaceuticals EPZ Managing Director Samuel Muchiri said the company has so far invested Sh2 billion in setting up the plant and would pump in an additional Sh115 million for upgrade of an existing plant at EPZ before starting local production.