The chamber of commerce has partnered with a local Jua Kali lobby to help Jua Kali startups obtain State tenders for manufacture of medical equipment.

According to a joint statement released last week by the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations (KNFJKA), the startups will leverage on a new government initiative to boost their productivity as part of a post-Covid-19 economic recovery plan.

Last month, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that the Government will engage Medium and small enterprises (MSEs) in the manufacture of basic medical equipment.

The equipment will be supplied to local hospitals and will also be exported. KNFJKA Chief Executive Richard Muteti asked his lobby members to liaise with county chamber offices to enable them participate in the tender bidding process.

Mr Muteti also asked KNFJKA members to liaise with county governments on how they can obtain interest free State loans.

Richard Ngatia, the KNCCI president, agreed that it is time Jua Kali artisans were allowed to play an important role in the country’s manufacturing sector.

“This is an opportunity to enhance the Jua Kali sector,” said Mr Ngatia.

Uhuru late last month said some Sh1.5 billion would be used in an initiative to help local startups participate in the boosting of healthcare.

The Jua Kali sector, the president said, would take centre stage in the production of medical equipment.

Muteti noted that as Covid-19 continues to ravage the country and the rest of the world, the Jua Kali sector has been on the forefront in coming up with innovations that are sealing gaps in the local medical supply chain.

“The Jua Kali sector in Kenya is currently making every effort to be part of a solution to the current pandemic,” said Muteti.