Regular engagement between the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and Legislature has seen KEPSA provide feedback and input on 105 Bills by highlighting areas of proposed amendments with an aim of improving the country’s business environment in the last 7 years.
Speaking at the recently concluded Speakers Roundtable KEPSA CEO Carole Kariuki says the partnership established between Kenya’s Private Sector and the legislature through the Speakers Round Table has to date remained focused on bills that bear on the country’s business environment.
Ms. Kariuki said the Speaker’s Roundtable remained an important platform of interrogating legislation and ensuring that it supports Kenya’s economic development and transformation.
“Last year was significant following the enactment of four key business reform bills namely the Special Economic Zones Act; Companies Act; Business Registration Service Act; and, the Insolvency Act. On each of these bills, there was a healthy interaction and exchange with the National Assembly over a significant period of time. This would not have been so if we didn’t have unanimity of mind with the National Assembly on the need to secure and promote Kenya’s competitiveness,” she said
Ms. Kariuki said KEPSA recognizes the important role that the National Assembly has played in passing key business reform legislation that has improved Kenya’s competitiveness as an investment destination.
“We believe that Kenya’s upward economic trajectory in recent years, is a reflection of the pursuit of an enabling policy and regulatory framework which has continued to attract investment and support economic expansion,” she said
Speaking while officially opening the forum, Speaker of the National Assembly Hon Justin Muturi noted that dialogue between the private sector and parliament promotes values of good business ethics and practices, innovation, hard work, goodwill and collective responsibility, promoting action-based best practices like corporate social responsibility, conservation and protection through prudent use of the country’s natural resources.
He noted that the Speakers Round Table Forum had over the years helped to inform and enrich the quality of debate on various Bills in which KEPSA had provided input and KEPSA’s involvement represented an important element of public participation.
“Public participation is a mandatory constitutional requirement and parliament remains committed to this continued engagement. Parliament will continue to play its part in ensuring inclusivity in legislation,” said Mr. Muturi
In view of the forthcoming elections, KEPSA Director Nick Nesbitt called on the forum to reflect on political stability which is key to the transformative agenda of ensuring competitiveness of the country as a business and investment destination.
“Most of you here are major players and significant leaders; most of you here are leaders of different political parties. But, political leadership comes with greatest responsibility to a country and its people and businesses. Adding “As KEPSA, we are doing our best under the Mkenya Daima Initiative that brings together multiple stakeholders in promoting and inculcating the message of rights and responsibility in persuading Kenyans and political leaders that it is cool to be patriotic about this country.”
Mr. Nesbitt said the country requires investments injection worth Sh1.7 trillion each year in order to attain growth rates of over 10 percent as was targeted in Vision 2030.
“In other words, we need to channel investments equivalent to 32 percent of our current GDP each year over the next 15 years into key productive sectors such as agribusiness, value-adding manufacturing, energy, financial services and infrastructure development in order to achieve Vision 2030,” he noted.
While recognizing the country’s potential to mobilize the required resources, Mr. Nesbitt noted that this would only be possible under a supportive business environment and a more competitive local economy which are backed and supported by the work that the MPs in the National Assembly do.
“More importantly, we can mobilize the right amount of investments and soar up our competitiveness if our politics does not balkanize this country and affect our businesses adversely. Yes, we could have all the right laws to achieve the most conducive of business environment; but, rules are only half-the story while effective implementation is the other half,” he said.
Emphasis was also placed on the need for an enabling legislative framework that is supportive to business and helps enhance the country’s competitiveness.
On his part, Speaker Muturi called on the forum to address itself to the style and nature of campaigns before elections in the country.
“The Private sector competes but they never resort to torching of each other’s businesses. We politicians can compete but we do not have to engage in wars at the detriment of the economy and economic successes achieved so far,” said Muturi.
At the end of the forum, the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi, Leader of the Minority Francis Nyenze, Hon. Jakoyo Midiwo and KEPSA Director signed the MKenya Daima peace pledge as a commitment to peaceful elections in 2017.
The Speaker’s RoundTable served to emphasize the importance of dialogue between the National Assembly and KEPSA. The passage of key reform bills which has involved dialogue between the two Partners is an indication of the benefits arising from the engagement. It is important to continuously review and identify areas of future legislative review and intervention.