MARS INC. Supports President’s Uhuru Manufacturing Agend

Victoria Mars, board member and immediate former Chairperson of Mars Incorporated, who recently visited Kenya, met President Uhuru Kenyatta and expressed support for the government’s Big Four Pillars for inclusive growth which includes manufacturing.

MarsMs. Mars who was accompanied by senior Mars executives said its subsidiary, Wrigley, and its global parent firm Mars, Incorporated view manufacturing – one of the Big Four pillars – as a great opportunity to transform Kenya into a competitive global economy and improve the lives of her people.

“Your goal to boost local manufacturing is timely and offers an opportunity to expand employment and business opportunities for Kenyans, while building the country’s position as a leading industrial hub in Africa. As a local manufacturer, we are keen to work with you to achieve this objective,” she said during the meeting held at State House, Nairobi.

Ms. Mars also briefed the President on various initiatives undertaken by her firm to provide social and economic opportunities for Kenyans; including program Maua, which currently has over 700 entrepreneurs; transforming their lives.

The President reiterated his government’s commitment to offering incentives for the manufacturing sector to thrive in Kenya including lower cost of energy and modern infrastructure.

He also commended Wrigley for the continued commitment to investing in Kenya notably the Ksh7 billion sustainably-built factory the company is building in Athi River. President Kenyatta said the new factory will not only create additional jobs but also provide opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises in its expanded value chain.

Ms. Mars added that Mars Inc. was actively supporting social and economic initiatives to expand employment and business opportunities for Kenyans especially in low-income and rural areas. Key sectors of engagement include agriculture, through the Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming and the African Orphan Crops Consortium.

Also present were Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Adan Mohammed and senior government officials.

The Wrigley Company is the world’s largest manufacturer and marketer of gum – and a leader in the global confectionery business.

It is a recognized leader in confectioneries with a wide range of products including gum, mints and hard and chew candies.

The company started in 1891 by William Wrigley Jr., who was a businessman selling necessities like soap and baking powder. Wrigley noticed that the sticks of gum he was giving away for free as incentives were proving more popular than the merchandise he was he was selling.

Kenya: President Kenyatta says the urban poor should benefit from the Equalisation Fund

President Uhuru Kenyatta has pitched for the inclusion of the urban poor so that they could benefit from the Equalisation Fund like other marginalised communities in the rural areas.


President Kenyatta was speaking on Monday at State House, Nairobi, when he received a report on the ‘Second Policy Identifying Marginalised Areas of Kenya and the Criteria for Sharing Revenue from the Equalisation Fund’.

The report was presented to the President by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), led by Chairperson Jane Kiringai.

The President said the urban poor – mainly those in informal settlements – lived in precarious conditions and also needed to be accorded equal consideration as other marginalised communities in the rural areas.

The Equalisation Fund seeks to provide services in accordance to what the communities identified as their priorities and which include health, education, infrastructure, energy and water.

The Commission said it would take on board the President’s concerns.

The Second Policy will be used to share revenue from the Equalisation Fund for period ending 2021.

While the first Marginalisation Policy focused on the identification of marginalised counties, the second policy shifts focus to marginalised areas.

To identify the marginalised areas, the Commission used an index of deprivation constructed using information on access to safe water, school attendance, access to improved sanitation and electricity.

The President commended the Commission for producing a good report on how to distribute financial resources to provide services to the poorest communities in accordance to their own priorities through public participation.

The CRA team recommended a comprehensive framework for engaging the beneficiary communities in the implementation of projects in the identified priority areas.


President Kenyatta jets back from AU summit

President Uhuru Kenyatta jetted back into the country from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he attended the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly.


The plane carrying the President and the First Lady Margaret touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airports shortly after 5:00 pm.

On arrival the President inspected a quarter guard mounted by a detachment of Kenya Airforce.

Deputy President William Ruto and Chief of Defence Forces, General Samson Mwathethe led senior government officials in receiving the President at the airport.

At the AU summit, African leaders focused on reforms and moves towards a free trade area.

The reform measures, crafted by a panel led by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, are around enhanced financial contributions as well as ensuring greater efficiency at the AU Commission in Ethiopia. Kenya is broadly supportive of the reforms.

“Kenya strongly supports the Reforms at the African Union, as that is the surest way to ensure the Union, its Commission, Organs and Agencies are fit for purpose and well equipped to deliver on the ambitious aspirations of the African People as spelt out in Agenda 2063,” said President Kenyatta at the summit.

Leaders also spoke against terrorism and signalled the urgency to combat the menace that has become a major threat to peace, security and development. They assured that peace and stability will continue to be given priority in the continent.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was working on strengthening the partnership between AU and UN, especially in peace and security in Africa.

In South Sudan, Mr Guterres said the UN has aligned its position with the AU and IGAD, saying the partnership is important to building a safer world for all.

“UN fully supports Africa’s initiatives for peace and reconciliation across the continent. We support is rooted solutions that are Africa-owned, Africa-driven and Africa-led,” Mr Guterres said.

On the side-lines of the summit, President Kenyatta met UN Secretary-General António Guterres and discussed peace initiatives in South Sudan and Somalia.

President Kenyatta and Mr Guterres reviewed progress in efforts to bring sustainable peace to South Sudan and Somalia.

Mr Guterres acknowledged the South Sudan peace initiatives spearheaded by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and encouraged member states including Kenya not to give up their efforts.

He particularly wanted President Kenyatta to return to the forefront of the continent’s efforts to secure a lasting solution in Kenya’s northern neighbour.

The President assured Mr Guterres that the African Union Summit provides an opportunity for IGAD leaders to meet and discussed ways of rejuvenating the peace process.

“In essence, it is about Kenya working with the region, and partners like the United Nations, to secure peace in South Sudan. It is a subject that concerns us, as much as it does the United Nations,” President Kenyatta said.

The President also outlined gains achieved by APRM in a report on Africa’s peer review efforts covering the last two years as the 30th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly came to a close yesterday.

President Kenyatta expressed satisfaction that a continental instrument for monitoring performance has made great strides in fostering improved governance as a vehicle for accelerated development in the last two years.

He said the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), which he has chaired for the past two years, is now more rejuvenated than it was before.

President Kenyatta launches upgraded inland container depot in Embakasi



President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Kenyatta today launched the upgraded Inland Container Depot in Embakasi paving way for the launch of the SGR Cargo Services. The new depot will go a long way in decongesting the port.


Speaking during the launch, H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the government is committed to lowering the cost of doing business through investment in enabling infrastructure.

‘Over the last four years the government has invested in the expansion of the country’s transport and infrastructure network with a view of reducing the cost of doing business while creating new business and employment opportunities.’ President Kenyatta said.

‘The launch of the Madaraka Express in May this year has already had a significant impact on the tourism sector, boosting both foreign and domestic tourism; today’s commissioning of the new Nairobi Inland Container Depot is expected to pass on the benefit to both importers and exporters of cargo.’ Once the cargo service is in operation, the cost of transporting cargo is set to come down.

The minimum cost of transporting a fully loaded 20ft container is set at Ksh.

19,800 at a minimum distance of 200 Km. The maximum cost of transporting a fully loaded 20ft container has been set at Ksh. 49,500 for the full distance between the port of Mombasa and the Nairobi inland container depot.


Agricultural inputs will so enjoy a lower rate at a minimum cost of Ksh. 16,500 for a minimum distance of 200 Km and a maximum cost of Ksh. 41,250 for the full distance between the port of Mombasa and the inland container depot. ‘This investment is in line with other Vision 2030 projects and the wider regional plan under the Northern Corridor integrated projects. The new Inland Container Depot’s capacity has been expanded from 180,000 tons to 450,000 tons.

Transport and Infrastructure, Cabinet Secretary, Dr. James Macharia said the government is committed to increasing efficiency within the local and regional transport ecosystem.

‘The port of Mombasa is expected to see a 7.6% annual increase in cargo, so far we have recorded a 25% increase in cargo between 2012 and 2016 with tonnage increasing from 21.9 million tonnes to 27.4 million tonnes.’ CS Macharia said. ‘This means that we have to clear cargo faster and more efficiently, the SGR will enable us to evacuate Nairobi bound cargo directly from the port for clearance at the inland container depot enabling the port to handle more cargo.’

According to Kenya Railways, Managing Director, Atanas Maina, exporters of various commodities are the biggest gainers under the cargo tariff.

‘Motor vehicle importers will incur a cost of Ksh. 3300 to transport their vehicles from the port of Mombasa to Nairobi while Transit vehicles will be ferried at a cost of Ksh. 2,640.

The maximum weight allowed on a 20 ft container is 30 tonnes while the maximum allowed weight on a 40ft container is 35 tonnes. The costs are however exclusive of handling costs and VAT. All goods destine for the local market will be subjected to 16%

VAT while transit goods and goods being exported from Kenya will be Zero rated.

Handlers of large cargo volumes between 4,000 and 40,000 tonnes will enjoy discounts between 5% and 20%. The minimum chargeable weight for non-containerized cargo is 70 tonnes while that of light down traffic such as foodstuffs, steel, animal feeds and paper is set at 43 tonnes per bogie wagon.