New regime must rope us in, say investors

February 26, 2013
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Speaking in reaction to Monday's presidential debate, Uchumi supermarkets CEO Jonathan Ciano said nearly all the candidates did not elaborate how they would seek the voice of investors/FILE
Speaking in reaction to Monday’s presidential debate, Uchumi supermarkets CEO Jonathan Ciano said nearly all the candidates did not elaborate how they would seek the voice of investors/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 26 – The business community contends that it will have to engage more with the next government during formulation of laws and policies that have a bearing on business.

Speaking in reaction to Monday’s presidential debate, Uchumi supermarkets CEO Jonathan Ciano said nearly all the candidates did not elaborate how they would seek the voice of investors.

He said this was clearly evidenced during the question on the minimum wage where, in his opinion, most of the candidates gave more weight to the employee than the employer.

“The current government has already set the pace and I think it’s about the new president coming up with new ideas on how to interact more with the business men and women. We are the investors, we know more what is happening in the market and the economy at large,” Ciano told Capital FM Business.

He said the social pillars were key to economic growth and candidates should also have outlined specific factual measures on how they would expand the economy once in power.

Kenya Private sector Alliance (KEPSA) chairman Patrick Obath on the other hand said candidates attempted to address governance issues that relate to businesses but did not give specifics on the source of funds.

“Most of their ideas were superficial. Like on the issue of the minimum wage, yes they said they would engage us in dialogue, but that is what has been happening all along. Others said they would focus on growing the agricultural sector and the like, but never gave factual steps they would take; it’s what has been said in the past. There was no depth,” Obath said.

“I expect the next government to ease doing business to enable Kenya attract investments, through reasonable labour costs, lower cost of power and other infrastructure. I think I also did not hear much of that,” he added.

In both debates that took place on February 11 and 25 most candidates promised to grow the economy by between seven and 10 percent to fight poverty, increase unemployment and grow investments.

“I do not feel that the debate interrogated the candidates in a meaningful manner on the economy. Various manifestos do not stand up to serious scrutiny. However from an economic perspective I think the first thing is to deal with is the government recurrent expenditure which is too high,” independent financial analyst Aly Khan Satchu said.

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