NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 18 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called for more active engagement between the government and the private sector to improve the country\’s business climate which has continued to deteriorate despite efforts to make it investor friendly.
While expressing his disappointment at the country\’s low rating in this year\’s Global Competitiveness Index, the premier said the two parties would now fully adopt the proposed cluster based approach, which spells out the strategies that need to be undertaken and clear timelines that they need to be achieved by.
"In my view, our achievements have fallen short of what we set out to do. In the Global Competitiveness Index of the World\’s economic forum, Kenya\’s ranking slipped to 106 out of 139 countries surveyed. I do not agree with such a low rating for our country," Mr Odinga told private sector players attending the sixth Prime Minister\’s Round Table forum.
The meeting, which brings together the Prime Minister, all the other ministers and the business community was launched in 2008 to address the cross cutting issues that hinder their ability to compete effectively.
But while admitting that some progress has been made, he regretted that it still fell short of what needed to be achieved.
"Kenya deserves better and we should do better. Therefore as agreed, we are introducing two innovations to improve the effectiveness of our dialogue. We will borrow from international best practices public private dialogue which will enable us to focus on specific issues, identified bottlenecks and develop appropriate action in each delivery chain," he said.
During the last Prime Minister\’s Round Table in March, both tourism and ICT sectors were used as pilot projects for the implementation of the model, which has reportedly been successful.
In the case of the ICT sector for example, a lot has been achieved particularly with regard to the development of the Konza Technology City which is said to be running on schedule.
And in what looks like a commitment to ensure the cluster approach works in all the other sectors, Mr Odinga pointed to the five priority areas have been identified where solutions would be suggested and progress monitored.
Food security, improvement in the transport, education and financial sectors and fast tracking of the integration process in the East African Community are the key areas where lasting solutions would be suggested and implemented.
He directed all ministries that have not set up a desk to ensure the speedy handling of EAC affairs in their departments to do so immediately.
Only 23 ministries have complied with this order which goes a long way in supporting the EAC ministry to effectively execute its mandate.
However, it was also not lost to the premier that corruption, access to credit, government bureaucracy and tax regimes and insecurity are other factors that curtail the enhancement of a conducive business climate.
Towards this end, he pledged the government\’s commitment to address the issues pointing to the promulgation of the new Constitution, which he said ensures predictability in the business environment.
The conclusion of crucial Bills such as the Companies Bill, Business Regulations Bill, Insolvency Bill and Limited Liabilities and Partnership Bills was another measure that they were undertaking to ensure an investor friendly environment which would in turn spur economic growth.
With the government playing its part, he challenged the private sector to step up its efforts in for example providing access to affordable loans, a move that would have the multiplier effect of contributing the economy\’s development.