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Major reforms at KNCCI in the offing

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 16 – Reforms at the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry are in top gear following the launch of a draft constitution that clearly spells out how the body will be governed in order to inject ethics and professionalism.

Among the raft of measures recommended to turn around the organisation that in the past has been dogged by leadership wrangles, is the separation of role of the chief executive from that of the management.

“This document has created an office of the Company Secretary which will be (headed) by a professional and registered public certified secretary whose duties will be dealing with the matters of the management meetings and minutes, governing council meetings and general members meeting,” said KNCCI national chairman Laban Onditi.

The new document seeks to also clip the powers of the CEO leaving him to deal with administrative duties only.

With this setting, the chairman is also expected to oversee the running of the organisation hence eliminating the conflict of interest.

A governing council that will supervise the implementation of the new constitution should be in place by September once it is adopted by the members.

The review of the body’s Memorandum and Articles of Association was carried out with the input of the Ministry of Trade, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and the United Nations Development Programme to the tune of Sh5 million.

KEPSA’s input will also be sought if there are amendments that need to be made on the draft to ensure that they end up with a near perfect document.

The recommendations were informed by views collected from members spread across the country by a consultant who was hired to help bring back governance in the administration of the chambers.

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The partners hope that with its restructuring, the chamber will be able to effectively carry out its mandate of strengthening the private sector and promoting businesses in the country.

As a professional body, the chamber will not only be able to advance the interests of the local business and manufacturing community in Kenya but those of the private sector in the East Africa region as well.

As the country moves to a devolved system of governance so will the chamber, which will surrender the membership to counties. This means that county chambers will be charged with the responsibility of recruiting members.

“The role of the national chairman will only be capacity building of the county chambers, networking them with the foreign investors, monitoring equity and distribution of information related to trade, commerce and industrial development in each county and making sure that the achievement of economic and social development,” Mr Onditi stressed.

Going forward, all the 47 counties each of which will be entitled to 10 votes will be expected to elect national officials.

If it manages to clean up its image, the national chambers will in future be able to lobby the government to give it the green light to start issuing the Preferential Certificate of Origin, a privilege which was taken away several years ago due to the squabbles.

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