Commerce lobby readies for polls as officials exit
The incoming leadership of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) is expected to confront a myriad of challenges in selling Kenya to international investors despite the country’s improved ease of doing business.
The lobby, the largest business membership organisation in Kenya with a presence in all the 47 counties, is set for elections at a soon to be announced date after its current leadership served its full term.
The current chairman, Kiprono Kittony, has served two three-year terms after what he terms a successful tour of duty and will not be seeking re-election, which means traders are bracing for a new regime.
Kenya scored a series of victories in the latest World Bank (WB) ease of doing business report following concerted efforts by the local business community and the State agencies but hard questions remain on the ranking.
In Africa, Kenya, with a score of 70.31 came fourth after Mauritius (20), Rwanda (29) and Morocco at position 60. It beat giant economies on the continent such as South Africa and Nigeria, which came in at 82 and 146 respectively.
The biggest improvement was in protection of minority investors where it moved from position 62 to 11. Further, the report says Kenya has cut the time required for a business to register property from 61 to 49 days thanks to introduction of an online system to pay fees.
Jostling for position of the outgoing chair of the KNCCI is already heating up with three candidates having confirmed they will contest for the post.
Mr Ngatia, one of the leading candidates for instance, told the lobby’s annual general meeting (AGM) held on February 8 at the Nairobi Hospital Convention Centre he is eyeing to develop a market framework that “will increase efficiency of the markets in Nairobi” as well as enact a revamped trade and markets policy to complement national policies.
He said at the AGM he is currently in talks for a joint initiative with the Nairobi County government and the Kenya Airports Authority to establish a welcome centre at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), the Nairobi Central Business District and the commercial district of Westlands to allow visitors as well as investors to get access to ready information on the country to enable them sample the best of Kenya with ease.
“We held a successful five-day retreat with the county executive and the County Assembly Trade Committee in January to seek concurrence on the development and necessity of a trade and markets policy, it was agreed it shall be concluded by June 30,” said Mr Ngatia.
The chamber has proposed a raft of changes including renaming the national chairman’s position and vice-chairman’s post to be referred to as the chamber president and vice-president.
“The chamber has also introduced a position of second vice president who shall be an appointee of the president and meant to address skills, gender, regional, youth and disability related imbalance at the top leadership of the chamber,” said the traders’ lobby in a statement at its AGM.