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Kenya mulls online business registration

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – Investors wishing to set up operations in Kenya will by mid next year be able to apply and pay for licenses via the internet.

Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said on Wednesday that the government was working to improve the newly launched electronic registry on business licenses to make it more interactive.

“What we are trying to do is to reduce contact between officers and public requiring services. Ultimately, we want to ensure that people can pay for these licenses via say M-Pesa or Zap (mobile money transfer services),” he said during the launch of the first phase of the e-registry.

This launch means that the public can now have easy and free access to information about valid licenses and the formalities that they need to comply with to obtain the permits.

With the upgrading of the site which is expected to be concluded by July next year, relevant forms and documents will be available online while the other functionalities such as those that can be used by small businesses will also be included.

This is part of reforms that are currently being undertaken by the government to enhance the country’s competitiveness by providing a conducive environment for the private sector to operate in.

“The initiative matches international best practises in business regulation and should contribute significantly to improve the transparency of regulations while reducing risk and uncertainties to business,” the Minister added.

Initially, an investor required 1,325 licenses before he could get the green light to start a business in Kenya.

However, under the reforms 315 licenses have been eliminated while a further 379 permits have been simplified. 294 licenses were retained while another 337 are under scrutiny with the view of either being simplified or eliminated.

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Mr Kenyatta also said his ministry was currently reviewing the Business Regulation Bill and the draft Business Regulatory Reform Strategy to incorporate suggestions from various stakeholders before their enactment.

“We are refining these two documents and we intend to submit the revised versions to a final validation workshop before presenting the same to the Cabinet,” he added.

The Minister said they would work with regulators to ensure that any future licensing laws conform to the new standards.

Meanwhile, the government has said it still working within its budget even as it implements various intervention measures to address the current crises in the country.

Mr Kenyatta said they are re-prioritising government’s programs to mitigate the effect the food, water and energy scarcity were having on the populace.

“We are still working within the numbers but it’s a question of ministries prioritising areas that are more relevant to the current crises that we have and bringing in those programs forward but still working on the framework that we have agreed,” he said.

His remarks come in the wake of the billions of shillings that have been set aside to not only solve the crises but also stimulate the economy.

The 2009/2010 financial year budget totalled Sh866 billion but it had not factored in the current challenges that the country is grappling with.

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