Kenya’s Private Sector Outcry On Hard Business Times Challenges Rosy Global Ranks

Kenya’s private sector is now asking the senate to assist in reducing bureaucracy and regulations hindering businesses from thriving under the devolved government. Members and officials of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance have said that doing business in counties is proving hard despite Kenya’s good ranking on the ‘Ease of doing business’ Index by the World Bank.

Kenya presents itself as a country viable for business but local investors feel that the situation on the ground is not one to reckon with. “Although we have a rosy global ranking on the ease of doing business, we need to have a conversation on the cost of doing business across the country. People see the global rise in numbers but there is more to be done,” said KEPSA chairman Nick Nesbitt.

Pending bills by county governments, lack of harmonized policies and multiplicity of taxes are the key issues facing the private sector that is now counting losses than it is profits. Other than corruption within county agencies and trade authorities, the private sector is now saying too many people have a hand in deciding whether a business is eligible or not depending on a raw judgment that is not incorporated in the law.

These cartels that claim to be part of the government continue to stifle and suffocate SMEs in the counties to leave the ground for the few. “So many people, for some reason, have the authority to stop a business from running,” said Nesbitt.

The senate has therefore been asked to come up with a framework that is predictable to enable reasonable business operations across counties. Also, seamless payments that will be enabled by a framework containing timelines have been proposed.

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KEPSA Chief Executive Officer Carole Kariuki said the net effect of the many rules and unpredictable policies in the country is the lack of competitiveness that results in international investors choosing to set up businesses in other countries. While the local is important, the global should be a focus.

Kenya has had a series of fails enabled by frail regulations and working frameworks that have seen ambassadors and foreign investors retrieve from doing business in counties citing lack of a competitive environment and has as a result contributed to massive corruption in the grassroots.

“As we deliberate on various economic issues affecting us as a country, we must now change our focus both as a business and as individual citizens from the perspective of gain to a wider concern for the societal good. It is no longer business as usual when the threat of job cuts is real, capital flight is no longer news, small business has no access to credit and our economic drivers are grinding to a halt,” said Speaker Kenneth Lusaka.



Gathoni Kuria

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