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Business leaders meet Raila over rising insecurity

Police charge at suspected Mungiki followers. High incidents of crime causing firms to invest more in security, increasing the cost of doing business in Kenya. Photo/FILE
Police charge at suspected Mungiki followers. High incidents of crime causing firms to invest more in security, increasing the cost of doing business in Kenya. Photo/FILE 

The business community will meet Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Monday to push the government to take action on the deteriorating security that they say is threatening investments.

This is the fifth such meeting since the Grand Coalition Government came into power in 2008. The last was held in October last year.

The private sector will give new demands, aimed at freeing the space for doing business in Kenya.

These include re-deployment of police from non-core activities such as managing buildings, stadiums and chauffeuring civil servants, freeing them to carry out their core mandate of maintaining law and order.

They say the move will encourage private security firms to take up some of those activities.

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They will also push for increase of police force funds to invest in equipment and intelligence systems.

The meeting comes at a time when companies and banks are rooting for better technologies for the defacement of cash-in-transit in case of theft, to curb rising cases of theft.

Security firm, G4S has of late suffered from this vice.

Business leaders are also seeking the introduction stiffer penalties on people found in possession of fire arms illegally, a practise that has been blamed on the rising insecurity.

They say insecurity is hurting investments as companies have resorted to spending more on private security. Insecurity is also hurting the development of Kenya’s labour force as some workers are forced to leave work early.

Some companies have also abandoned night work shifts for fear of attacks.

The government is currently undertaking piecemeal police reforms to enhance security in the country.

Several ministers are expected to attend the meeting in what has become to be known as the Prime Minister’s round table.

The meetings are held after every four months and this will be the fifth such meeting since the government started to engage directly with the business community in 2008.

The Prime Minister’s Round Table meeting provides a unique opportunity for the various industry sectors to discuss national policies and strategies on cross cutting issues that impact on the private businesses.

Business leaders from the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and the Federation of Kenya Employers will also attend the meeting.

According to the private sector, previous round table meetings have achieved several quick wins such as helping to open up the Northern and Eastern corridors for the construction of super-highways so as to ease traffic gridlocks in Nairobi.

The business community says they have also witnessed the reduction of police road blocks on major highways which were blamed for the delay in the transit of goods.

The East African Business Council in a survey said the roadblocks were corruption conduits used by the police to extort money from long distance truck drivers.

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