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Kenyan employers fault draft law

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 27 – The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) has criticised the proposed size of government in the Harmonised Draft Constitution saying it would lead to higher taxation.

FKE Chairman Patrick Obath said on Friday that the country may not afford the proposed structure under the draft constitution.

“This Prime Minister-President (scenario) was a transitional arrangement for this country,” he said. “And the issue of proportional representation, is it an opportunity?”

The body also disapproved the proposed government structure saying it would increase the cost of doing business in the country, and affect the competitiveness of Kenyan industries.

“We have several layers of government. Can this country afford all those layers of government?” he wondered.

“We will be making presentations as to what we believe will be the cost of government to this country and the impact it will have on the cost of doing business here,” he added.

The federation also took issue with the clause on assembly, demonstration, picketing and petition under the Bill of Rights in the draft and said it would impact negatively on employment.

FKE wants the term “picketing” struck off completely from the draft constitution. Mr Obath said picketing (which is an act of workers standing in front of or near a workplace to call attention to their grievances) could make Kenya be declared an unsafe place for business.

“A lot of issues in employment were being handled in a peaceful manner because there was a clear channel under which this could be done but when you are now picketing with people closing employers’ gates, it could lead to some serious confrontations,” he stated.

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Meanwhile, the alliance has termed a recent law that required an employer with more than one employee to remit contributions to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) as unrealistic.

Mr Obath said NSSF had no capacity to implement this law which was gazetted in October and took effect at the beginning of this month in a bid to increase the NSSF revenue base.

“This was a directive by the Ministry and we are not sure whether it consulted the NSSF,” he said. “There may be people who may take advantage of that and pose as NSSF agents to harass employers.”

Mr Obath said the new law should have been implemented in a way that allowed effective collection and engagement of all the people who were expected to join NSSF.

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