Kenya’s Association of Manufacturers have urged Government to harmonize laws, policies and regulations, at the National and County levels, to drive the competitiveness of local industry.
This was during the launch of the Regulatory Audit Report, 2020 that highlights regulatory challenges facing the business community across the country.
Speaking during the launch, KAM Chair, Mucai Kunyiha explained that whilst regulations seek to create a level-playing field for businesses, regulatory overreach hinders the competitiveness of local industry.
“At the national level, manufacturers are required to adhere to duplicating requirements, from different regulatory bodies, in addition to meeting numerous tax obligations. In the counties, we have to pay various fees, levies and charges. This drives up the cost of doing business in the country, thus reducing our competitiveness locally, regionally and even globally,” highlighted Mr Kunyiha.
The county governments have also been urged to formulate a tariffs and pricing policy to guide imposition of fees and charges, which is a legal requirement under section 120 of the County Governments Act, 2012 as well as speed up the completion of the County Licensing (Uniform Procedures) Bill, 2019, which aims to harmonize county licensing processes.
KAM also proposes that chargeable fees and levies be linked to accessibility and availability of services (such as water and sewerage) For instance, majority of businesses are not connected to water and sewer lines, which are essential inputs.
Mr Kunyiha called for the involvement of the business community in the formulation of laws, regulations and policies, by both levels of government, adding, “I urge both levels of government to align overlapping mandates and roles; reduce fees, levies and charges and reduce the turnaround time for granting permits by businesses. By doing so, the laws, regulations and policies will be industry-centred and in turn, support competitive industrial development.”
Secretary for National Administration at the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, Mr Arthur Osiya, recognized that the manufacturing sector’s growth has stagnated over a period of time, which is partly attributed to poor and disparate policies and regulations.
“The 2010 Constitution envisioned smooth collaboration and cooperation between the two levels of government, to create a conducive business environment. However, this has not been the case, with numerous regulations and county fees, charges and levies being put in place. The Taskforce on Parastatal Reforms, established in 2013, sought to address these challenges while implementing Government policies. We shall continue to make efforts geared towards ensuring transparency, accountability, flexibility and effectiveness, to drive the competitiveness and productivity of local industry,” said Mr Osiya.
Principal Secretary, State Department for East African Community (EAC) in the Ministry of EAC and Regional Integration, Dr. Kevit Desai called for harmonization of regulations across the region, to enhance market access, particularly in the EAC.
“Addressing regulatory challenges faced by manufacturers will make our exports more competitive in the region. Greater levels of industrial integration and promotion of value addition shall enhance the overall diversity of our products and services. ” said Dr Desai.
The Regulatory Audit Report highlights some of the regulatory challenges facing industry at both national and country levels, as well as recommendations to create an enabling business environment.