, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 20 – President Mwai Kibaki has reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to creating a conducive environment for the private sector to thrive.
Addressing members of the East African Business Council who paid him a courtesy call on Friday, President Kibaki said Kenya has embarked on implementing policy reforms geared towards promoting private sector investments in the country.
In this regard, the Head of State reassured the private sector that as the current chairman of the East African Community he will push for the removal of hurdles and adoption of the requisite regional policies that facilitate rapid economic growth.
President Kibaki said Kenya will particularly urge the East African Community Secretariat to fast-track the establishment of the regional Competition Authority to ensure a level playing field and fair business competition.
The President, therefore, called on the East African business community to redouble their efforts in playing their rightful role in the diversification of business ventures in the region.
Speaking during the meeting, the East African Business Council Chairperson Consolata Ndayishimye thanked President Kibaki for his continued support to the private sector.
“Your steadfast support to the East African Business Council serves to underscore the importance you accord the private sector in the realisation of the East African Community objectives,” Ms Ndayishimye said.
To ensure a fully fledged Customs Union, the East African Business Council members recommended the application of a uniform customs procedures which have already been drafted.
They also urged EAC partner states to agree to the clearance of goods at first point of entry into the Customs territory to allow free circulation of goods.
“All issues hindering this decision, such as revenue collection and sharing should be resolved,” the East African Business Council members said.
Expressing the need for the establishment of an EAC Customs Authority with a clear mandate, the East African Business Council members called for the harmonization of domestic tax regimes including excise taxes, VAT, income tax, tax incentives and tax procedures.
They also appealed to the EAC to drive the process towards the tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA) which will deal with the complication brought about by the different trading blocs.
On his part, Transport Permanent Secretary Eng. Cyrus Njiru informed the EA Business Council that the Kenya Ports Authority was operating on a 24-hour basis to expedite clearance of containers at the port.
The PS asked the private sector to cooperate in ensuring the rapid clearance of containers.
Present at the meeting were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Uhuru Kenyatta, Trade Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere and the Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Amb. Francis Muthaura among other senior Government officials.