Nairobi – Hundreds of jobs could be going down the drain annually due to Kenya’s unclear and inefficient work permit regulations, regional business leaders said in Nairobi Tuesday.
The East African Business Summit said the bureaucracies around the work permits for investors remained a major barrier to foreign businesses expanding, not only into Kenya, but among the five-member East African Community (EAC).
Chief executive of business consultancy firm KPMG, Josphat Mwaura, said the long process of securing a working permit for investors could be more efficient and friendly if co-ordinated by Kenya Investment Authority.
“We should have some sort of templates showing clearly the conditions to be met in various industries,” he said.
“This should be accessed anywhere in the world so that the investor get the process started by his advisors before he jets in.”
The present red tape, Mwaura said, takes some investors over a year to secure a permit, depending on the industry.
“Any time we deny a sea level investor a work permit, we are losing 100 (new) jobs,” he said. “Yet we have far too many people living in poverty....and far many people excluded from economic growth.”
He spoke at a media briefing ahead of the three-day East African Business Summit, themed ‘Positioning East Africa for Inclusive Prosperity in 2020 and Beyond’, that starts on June 4 in Kigali.
Apart from labour policies, the forum will also discuss double taxation, population growth, value addition in agribusiness, promoting entrepreneurship, harnessing mineral wealth and opportunities in the emerging oil and gas industry.
About 100 CEOs, policy-makers and development partners are expected the summit held after every two years and was first hosted at Mount Kenya Safari Club in 2002.