The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) said Friday it will continue engaging the government through the office of the prime minister following economic gains made from previous meetings that have improved the country’s business competitiveness.
KEPSA has been holding what is known as the prime Minister’s roundtable meetings on quarterly basis where the private sector presents to Prime Miniter Raila Odinga main issues that they want addressed to improve business environment.
KEPSA said in an outline of achievements made so far that the passage of law against organized crime, reduced period of value added tax refunds by the Kenya Revenue Authority, and installation of closed circuit television (CCTV) in some parts of the city are some of the gains from this engagements.
KEPSA’s CEO Carole Kariuki said in a statement released on Friday that other gains made include reduction of value added tax on electricity from 16 percent to 12 percent, construction of Thika Road and other bypasses, laying of the fiber optic cables and the revocation of notice that all visa fees should be paid in the U.S.dollars.
She said KEPSA has identified three obstacles to smooth movement of goods in East Africa Community (EAC) as agreed with the government of Kenya in March last year.
“The main issues that need to be addressed are lack of a well established national investment master plans, the inefficiency at the Port of Mombasa and the inadequate involvement of private
sector in the EAC integration process,” said Kariuki.
She said KEPSA has already conducted studies on the three issues and will be releasing a comprehensive report on solutions in mid-March on what should be done.
She said inefficiencies of the Port of Mombasa, including delays caused at the weighbridges should form lessons as the construction of the Lamu Port starts Friday so that the same mistakes are not repeated.
KEPSA said in the statement that the
development of the National Investment Plan will ensure all relevant authorities at the national and county level “would be pulling in the same direction with less friction and therefore higher efficiency.
The private sector membership body also said it will start consultative meetings with respective private sector bodies in all EAC member countries to come up with a common method that will ensure there is better participation of the private sector in the EAC integration process.
Last week, KEPSA held a special prime minister’s roundtable where issues on the cost of living, employment, trade and investment, and regional integration were discussed.
During that meeting, KESPA stressed the need for the diversification of the country’s imports to ensure there is a steady flow of foreign currencies even when one export destination is not able to buy goods citing the case of sovereign debt crisis in the European Union that is the largest buyer of Kenya horticulture and the biggest source of tourism.
It was also agreed that Kenya should change
the structure of its economy to make the manufacturing sector more dominant than the agriculture.
The private sector is also opposed to plans
by the Ministry of Finance and Kenya Bankers Association to control interest rates, saying self regulation is better.