The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) and SYSPRO Africa have launched Chief Financial Officers (CFO) 4.0 Survey 2021 report for the Kenya region.

According to the report, a total of 41 percent of the CFOs surveyed have yet to record their digital returns on investments, 7 percent were not sure if their digital returns on investments were received, while 31 percent were still planning on investigating.

The survey conducted across a range of manufacturing and distribution companies that had drawn over 100 responses from financial leaders predominantly from larger enterprises operating in the country, was to assess sentiments on how manufacturing businesses are faring on after unprecedented and tumultuous 2020.

Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ministry of Trade Industrialization and Enterprise Development, Betty Maina, in a speech read on her behalf of by Managing Director Kenya Industrial Estates, Dr Parmain Ole Narikae, during the launch of the report at a Nairobi hotel, said the government has prioritized various sectors among them Agro processing, textiles and apparels, leather and leather products to support the manufacturing industry.

The CS said Kenya has been designated as a beneficiary of several trade preferential arrangements and under the initiative, of which Kenyan manufacturers will enjoy duty free market access to the United States until the year 2025.

She called upon ICPAK to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) in manufacturing, noting that they were key in driving the country‘s economy as they contribute 34 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

“By supporting MSME’s, we are setting out to support the growth of this country,” said Ms Maina.

She reiterated the government’s commitment to promote the manufacturing industry and singled out some of the initiatives it has undertaken to assist  those in the industry during this time on Covid-19 pandemic among them tax relief and supporting specific manufacturing sectors of the economy to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment.

Head of Customer and Ecosystem Enablement at SYSPRO Africa, Doug Hunter, noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted the need for diversification and innovation in changing global market policies to help businesses adapt to the ‘new normal’ of the digitized world.

“While we have seen an expedited global move towards diversification particularly in digital transformation in the manufacturing and distribution sector, Kenya’s uptake has been much slower,” he said.

Hunter added that the deployment of technology by companies has determined their returns on digital investment.

“It is not how much you spend that matters, it is how you spend it. User experiences can also influence how technology is used and eventually affect the return on investment,” he explained.

Manager Public Policy and Research ICPAK, Elias Wakhisi, noted that the survey was aimed at determining the innovative nature of businesses during this time of Covid-19 and how they can survive, navigate and withstand storms in the business world.

He encouraged businesses to anticipate a digital future, understand global change and regional features and commended institutions that have adapted innovation and digital technology to be able to monitor work and push productivity.

Wakhisi urged businesses to employ predictable models that can push for scenario setting that can determine the level of their businesses as corporate in the next 10 years.

By Fred Azelwa.