President William Ruto, on Wednesday, June 7, issued a new directive on the procurement and leasing of military vehicles.
During the launch of the Isuzu Electri-Deposition Paint Plant, Ruto announced that the military, National Youth Service (NYS), and government ministries would prioritise buying locally assembled vehicles.
60 per cent of locally assembled military vehicles, he stated, would promote the automotive industry.
"We will expand the vehicle leasing programme to include more areas, including the military, NYS and other ministries.
“As we buy new vehicles, they should be locally manufactured to create more employment," the President directed.
Ruto revealed that he had already put the plan in motion through an Executive Order issued to the Kenya Defence Forces.
“I received the catalogue for military vehicles. I insisted that 60 per cent of the trucks and motor vehicles available in Kenya should be procured locally.
“There is only one way to build the manufacturing industry in Kenya,” the President stated.
The military in Kenya majorly secures its vehicles from foreign countries, including Turkey and China.
In April 2021, Kenya’s Department of Defence announced it would procure 118 state-of-the-art military vehicles from Turkey for Ksh9.7 billion.
A year later, on March 2022, former Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa procured military vehicles from China in Military Aid Gratis.
Military Aid Gratis is a process whereby equipment is given to another country as a donation, rather than on sale or credit.
According to Statista, from 2010 to 2021, Kenya bought arms and military vehicles from Jordan, Italy, the United States, China, Spain, Serbia, Russia, South Africa, France, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.
Former President Uhuru Kenyatta, in 2021, ordered all government ministries to purchase locally assembled cars. The directive saw the production of locally assembled vehicles rise by 80 per cent in the first half of 2021.
Locally assembled vehicles in Kenya include Mobius and Volkswagen Polo Vivo.
According to the Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI), locally assembled vehicles accounted for 78.1 per cent of all new automotive sales in 2022.
Isuzu East Africa was pointed out as one of the leading companies in promoting the local manufacturing industry in Kenya.