Uhuru raps State agencies for frustrating SMEs
President Uhuru Kenyatta has sounded a warning to national and county regulatory bodies that he says are a hindrance to business in the country due to excessive red tape and corruption.
In a speech during Jamhuri Day celebrations Wednesday, Mr Kenyatta urged the State agencies to shed their gate-keeping mentality and instead embrace the role of facilitators for business and trade.
“For those who continue to treat their public offices as toll-stations to harass wananchi, the broom that is sweeping across the nation, will soon find its way to your door steps,” he warned without specifying who the targets of his remarks were.
He noted that small and medium size businesses (SMEs) still have to tackle far too much red tape and corruption in their bid to thrive.
Mr Kenyatta also said that the government had teamed up with local commercial banks in order to redesign the Micro & Small Enterprises Authority Fund to unlock much needed affordable credit to SMEs.
“As a government, we remain committed to do more for our micro-sized manufacturers in the “jua kali” sector, as it is a major employer of our people.”
Mr Kenyatta’s comments come at a time when counties such as Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Kakamega among others have moved to introduce new levies for small businesses in a bid to shore up revenues to fund their budgets.
Mombasa, for instance, introduced additional fees for small businesses in its 2018/2019 Finance Bill. Those affected include car washes and traders using motor vehicles to sell on pavements who will be required to pay up to Sh12,000 and Sh30,000 respectively.
The Kakamega County Finance Bill 2018 proposed several levies that include new application fees for market stalls and branded kiosks at Sh500 as well as annual levies for eateries of between Sh2,500 and Sh10,000.
Kisumu County on the other hand introduced new charges this year that include traders running private parking with the capacity of at least 51 vehicles paying Sh100,000, a Sh150,000 fee for produce dealers with more than 100 workers and between Sh7,000 – Sh20,000 fee for cyber cafes.