KEPSA lauds government support for advances made

Nairobi, Kenya- November 1st 2018…The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) has attributed Kenya’s improved performance in the just-released Ease of Doing Business 2019 report to the strong partnership and collaboration between KEPSA and the Government with support from the World Bank Group.

The Doing Business 2019: themed ‘Training for Reform’, a World Bank Group flagship publication, confirmed Kenya’s improvement to position 61 up from position 80 last year. Speaking after receiving the report, KEPSA Chair Nick Nesbitt credited the country’s performance to enhanced responsiveness by the government to address business challenges.

The publication indicates that Sub Saharan Africa has set a new record for a third consecutive year, carrying out 107 reforms in the past year to improve the ease of doing business for domestic small and medium enterprises. Four of the top ten improvers are from sub-Saharan Africa, which include: Kenya, Ivory Coast, Rwanda and Togo.

“At KEPSA, we are pleased with the significant improvement, which shows great investment by government in improving the business arena. During the Presidential RoundTable held in 2014, our focus was to be top 50 by 2020 as per KEPSA strategic plan that is already bearing fruits,” Nesbitt said.

He added that technology played a big role in the transformation witnessed in the business environment including digitization of all government services to improve efficiency in service delivery.

The Doing Business Indicator was at the centre of the Presidential Roundtable meetings between KEPSA and the three arms of the Government, with input from the International Finance Corporation, from 2014 to 2017.

At the time of the first such meeting in 2014, Kenya was ranked at position 136 and focus has since then been on working towards moving that ranking up to position 50 by the year 2020.

Among the agreements made at the initial meeting was a review of the situation every six months and the establishment of a tripartite arrangement bringing together the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, the private sector under KEPSA and the World Bank Group to spearhead policy, legislative and administrative reforms in the country.

On the other hand, KEPSA Sector Boards and the Ministries, Parliamentary Committees, the Judiciary and Counties would follow up on the agreements that each was to implement and monitor before the next Presidential Round Table.

The improvement in the ranking has been made possible by various Public Private Dialogue structures initiated by KEPSA to make it easier for SMEs and entrepreneurs to get into business. In addition to the Presidential Roundtable were the Speakers’ Roundtable and the Ministerial Stakeholders’ Forums, all of which have been crucial in ensuring a stable, secure and enabling business environment where all businesses large and small, domestic and foreign can start, grow and thrive.

Kenya implemented five reforms to advance 19 slots. This included the introduction of a new law on secured transactions, which helped further strengthen access to credit. This latest reform catapulted Kenya to 8th from 29th in the world in the area of Getting Credit.

The most notable improvement was on protecting minority investors which moved 51 places from position 62 to 11. This improvement is as a result of the implementation of the Companies Act which KEPSA actively participated in pushing for its enactment.

Towards resolving insolvency, Kenya ranked 57 from 95 moving up 38 places as the Insolvency Act 2016 gets implemented allowing companies facing difficult times continue operations while negotiating settlement with creditors, thus giving them a life line and easing resolution of insolvency.

During the launch of the Doing Business Report 2019 at State House today, President Uhuru Kenyatta appreciated each of all those who played a role either individually or collectively to help Kenya record such a remarkable improvement in its Ease of Doing Business global ranking.

“The battle to create a predictable legal and regulatory environment for business continues and the next frontier of the war will be to bring order to the various taxes being levied to businesses at the county level all of which threaten to reverse the gains we have made so far,” said the President.

The 2019 report, is the 16th in a series of annual reports measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 190 economies.

KEPSA has been pushing for the simplification of these tax processes, reduction of tax burdens and widening the tax base and this has been achieved through the iTax. This can be seen through the reduction of time spent making tax payment from 308 hours in 2014 to 179.5 hours this year.

All these achievements have been made possible through KEPSA’s various engagement structures established in partnership with the government over the years including Presidential Roundtable, Speakers’ Roundtable, Ministerial Stakeholders’ Forums, among others that have been crucial in ensuring a stable, secure and enabling business environment where all businesses large and small, domestic and foreign can start, grow and thrive.