Kenya's exports were valued at Sh517.9 billion in 2012 mainly driven by a growth in the East African Community market. A Treasury report on the general economic and commercial affairs sector says that exports grew from Sh409.8 billion in 2010 to Sh517.9 billion in 2012 representing a 26.4 per cent growth.
The sector comprises of the East African affairs, commerce and tourism sub sector and the industrialisation and enterprise development sub sectors.
Kenya's exports to the EAC region expanded from Sh101.3 billion in 2010 to Sh134.95 billion in 2012, the report released this week says.
According to the report, intra EAC trade continued to expand with Kenya still dominating to record a surplus balance of Sh86.4 billion ($1,005.1 million) , Sh87.8 billion ($1,021.8 million) and Sh20.7 billion ($241.5 million) in the years 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.
The report adds that the value of exports from the Export Processing Zone increased by 5.98 per cent to Sh41.41 billion in 2012 from Sh39.1 billion in 2011.
The EPZ is credited with having created 473 new jobs with direct local employment in the zones increasing from 32,043 persons in 2011 to 32,516 persons in 2012. Tourism earnings amounted to Sh96.02 billion in 2012.
"The sector contributes significantly to the overall national development agenda accounting for about 33 per cent of the overall GDP," the report, which has called for additional funding for the sector says.
The report ranks the sector as a major source of government revenue in form of taxes, duties, license fees, entry fees, among others.
"However, the sector's funding has been inadequate to enable it effectively deliver its mandate and implementation of the Vision 2030 flagship projects in the sector," report says.
The sector received an allocation of Sh12.8 billion this financial year accounting for only 14.3 per cent of the total resource requirement of 89.8 billion.
"The allocation is substantially inadequate and may not facilitate full realisation of the sector's objectives for the financial year," the report notes.
According to the report, the sector needs Sh132 billion in the financial year 2014/15 in order to implement some prioritised programmes.
These programmes include special economic zones in Mombasa, Lamu and Kisumu, Mombasa Free Trade Zone as well as 47 county industrial parks.
"There is need to adopt a paradigm shift at the national level to prioritise funding to the sector which is critical in spearheading implementation of Vision 2030 projects and programmes," the report says.