The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) has unveiled measures aimed at unlocking funding opportunities and various key policies within the Lake Region Economic Block (LREB).
Speaking during the LREB private sector forum at Busia Vocational Training Centre Thursday, KNCCI and Busia Chapter Chairman, Sylvanus Abungu described KNCCI as money owners with LREB being owners of policies.
“The KNCCI is a membership-based trade support institution (TSI) working to protect commercial and industrial interests of Kenyan business community. It advocates for the creation of a favorable commercial, trade and investment environment that supports enterprise expansion. The membership of KNCCI constitutes small, micro enterprises (MSEs), medium and large enterprises,” noted Abungu.
“The idea of LREB showing interest in starting a bank within the bloc is a good indicator, but it will not succeed without collaboration with the Chamber,” he added.
Chairman LREB private sector forum Herman Kasili said cross border taxes is the greatest burden considering that Busia County is the gateway to East and Central Africa.
“We need many industries in LREB instead of getting the same products from Nairobi or Mombasa; this will boost the economy of the region.
His sentiments were echoed by LREB CEO, Victor Nyangaya said the bloc with a population of 15 million people is the largest but a sleeping giant, noting that LREB/ KNCCI partnership will make the bloc the region of destination.
“Economies of scale fell right on the ground. With serious partnership for LREB the next 2-3 months will see the turning point in the bloc owing to good work done by President Uhuru Kenyatta,” he said
Mr Nyangaya said LREB’s role is on advocacy and lobbying, urging counties within the bloc to put up many factories to reduce post-harvest losses.
The event was concluded by the signing of MoU between KNCCI and Stanbic bank, a move that will see the financial institution revive SMEs in post Covid-19 pandemic era.
Under the agreement, both parties will undertake joint activities to empower businesses countrywide financially and to build their capacity through programmes aligned to business operations development which include training and capacity building through enhanced coaching and business mentorship.
“Chamber members across the country now have a reason to smile. We have made the conscious decision to walk the journey with them and to support them when they need us the most. By partnering with financial institutions to increase the opportunities for our members and giving them access to Equity’s resources in terms of manpower, financial resources and a comprehensive training curriculum that will see their business grow,” said Nyangasa.
The partnership will target SMEs in Agribusiness operating within key sectors of the economy including education, agriculture and agribusiness, the health sector and the manufacturing sector as well as target women and youth entrepreneurs in the country. Businesses are also set to benefit from competitive interest rates and flexible repayment periods of up to three (3) years on their loan facilities.
Deputy County Commissioner, Kipchumba Rutto who officially opened the forum said there is need for Busia County to create markets to unlock opportunities in Kenya and the Great Lakes Region including Uganda, DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Rwanda and Southern Sudan.