BY UHURU KENYATTA
On Friday, I hosted a huge delegation from the Kenya Private Sector Alliance for our quarterly roundtable. For the whole afternoon, we engaged in intensive discourse over a wide range of issues, and received reports on a wide range of initiatives aimed at making the business environment more conducive to greater productivity and competitiveness.
At the core of these discussions is a metric that employs parameters which gauge the ease of doing business in Kenya. Everything we do at the macro- and micro-level legislation – policy design and the state of national institutions to the cost of electricity and the time taken to complete formal processes like licensing and other transactions – have a strong bearing on the country’s attractiveness as an investment destination. The way this world works is such that ease of doing business attracts the most sought after investors. Improving the ‘doing business’ rating, therefore delivers a double dividend.
First, strategic, policy and institutional frameworks in place improve to a level that guarantees stakeholder satisfaction and effective, transparent governance. Second, national competitiveness rises to a level that creates more jobs, raises incomes and lowers the cost of goods and services. So, although the roundtable involved private sector players, investors and the general capitalist class, the discussions addressed issues that have an immediate impact on the life of every citizen in this country.
The highlights of the roundtable included lands, business licensing and security. More than 1.3 million files were restored into the database at the Lands Ministry registry. To ensure that files do not ‘disappear’ again, an online file tracking system has been inaugurated. We were assured that the time taken to complete transactions has been reduced from an average of 76 days to 16, and further improvement will be reported at the next roundtable.
Over at the State Law Office, it was reported that the time it takes to register a business has come down from an average of 32 days to 24 hours. On security, a strategy entailing the intensive use of supportive technology, especially ICT, is being implemented.
These and many other achievements were discussed by stakeholders. Moreover, challenges and deficiencies were also frankly interrogated. This way, a lot of useful input was elicited from diverse stakeholders to enable Government develop and roll out wholesome policies and strategies.
At the same time, the Deputy President was occupied at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, engaging 6,000 young Kenyans who were assembled to engage their Government on issues pertinent to them. Opportunities for growth and advancement are urgent in this area, because the youth are doers for whom the present moment presents innumerable opportunities.
The Youth Fund, youth access to Government procurement Opportunities and the Uwezo kitty are foremost in this agenda. We are delivering on our pledges as a Government. We intend to ensure that all young people get on board and use the opportunities at hand to unleash their unique potential and move this country forward.
My presidency received immense support from the young people of Kenya. We want to appreciate this support in a big way. The discussions at Kasarani were part of a continuing discourse with the youth to entrench them in educational, business and professional opportunities, and ensure that their voice is always heard.