Kenya commerce chamber decries insecurity

April 28, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 28 – Members of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry are raising concern over the increased cases of insecurity in the country.

Citing recent events in central province that resulted in the death of more than 40 people, the body told journalists on Tuesday that Kenya was fast losing credibility as a viable investment destination.

“If the situation is left unchecked, Kenya could as well forget deriving any benefits from the numerous investment incentives aimed at attracting foreign investment in the country,” Stephen Mbugua, chairman of the Small and Medium Enterprises committee of the chamber said.

Mr Mbugua observed that already Kenya attracts the least foreign direct investment in the region.

“Even the 2.1 percent GDP growth predicted for this year is likely to be more negatively impacted by the outbreak of violence,” Mr Mbugua said.

Chairman of the Manufacturing Committee Peter Kuguru pointed out that the practice of extortion within Central province has been going on unabated despite numerous concerns by the business community.

“These days the militia are even charging transporters of manufactured goods at road blocks within the region and issuing receipts,” Mr Kuguru complained.

“Does this mean we have a parallel government at the grassroots or what?” Mr Kuguru wondered.

The chamber further reported a number of cancellations on the hotel industry as a result of the bad press generated from the ‘Karatina massacre’.

The Chamber also observed that the standoff in Parliament over the position of Leader of Government Business was contributing to the worsening situation.

“Towards this end we call upon the two principals to put aside their individual and party differences for the good of the nation and the people of Kenya,” Mr Mbugua said.

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