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Kenya: Finance minister Njeru Githae

2012/12/19

Finance minister Njeru Githae has told Parliament that Kenya is set to roll out the electronic registration of businesses within the next three months.

The MP said the e-registration will ensure that investors have an easy time setting up businesses in the country.

He added that a Bill –Business Regulation Bill-- to simplify the process was in the works and will make it to Parliament as soon as possible to make that dream a reality.

Julius Kones (Konoin) had noted the long processes and multiple licenses required to set up and operate business in the country, saying they had made Kenya less attractive for foreign and even local entrepreneurs.

“Why does the government require a Bill to set up an e-registry when you already have a government policy on e-governance?” posed the Konoin MP.

Dr Kones said that the 2011-2012 Doing Business Statement that was prepared by the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank had passed an indictment on Kenya as an investment destination. Kenya was ranked number 109 in the world.

“What reform measures has the government taken to simplify payment of taxes and regulations for investors and what achievements have been made in improving the business environment to attract new investments in the country?” posed Dr Kones.

It is then that the Finance minister said that the government was aware that the business regulation environment was haphazard and that the processes too were inordinately long.

Mr Githae said he banked on the Bill to bring changes to the circumlocutory practices and woo investors into the country.

The major problem, the minister said, is because of the a lot of regulatory authorities – the public health, the national environment management authority, the local authorities and the ministry of trade are just some of those whose licenses are sought before investors begin business.

“We need a change of attitude in this country. When an investor comes, we should rush to him, because he’s doing us a favour by coming to invest in this country. We should not put so a lot of roadblocks on the investor’s way,” said Mr Githae.

John Mbadi (Gwassi) asked the minister to ensure that tax payment and compliance are amount put online.

Mr Githae said that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) was slowly taking up automation of most of its services.

“Nowadays, there’s no need of filling those bulky forms. Once we automate amount this, we will sort out our business procedures,” said Mr Githae.

He revealed that the registration of business had been shortened from months to a month, and the goal at the Registrar of Companies was to have that period shortened to 14 days.

“We’re not out of the woods from now on,” said the minister.

The minister added that a committee had been set up to ensure that businessmen do not suffer when registering their business.

Erastus Mureithi (Ol Kalou) said the minister had packed the committee with government appointees, but the minister said, there were three slots for the private sector to inform the government on the woes of businessmen.

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