Punitive company registration and capital goods import procedures are adversely affecting most firms’ expansion plans and their ability to create jobs.
Speaking at a Nairobi hotel during the CEO Global East Africa Regional Awards Fete, industry captains observed that Kenya’s ability to earn higher revenues was being sabotaged by government officials who delay clearance of key capital goods.
The officials have also made it costly and tedious for investors to acquire registration of their businesses, the CEOs said.
Karen Hospital CEO Betty Gikonyo called for streamlining of import processes, saying it was nearly impossible to import medical equipment since documentation and approval processes took over a month, making it costly for businesses to provide much needed services that require specialised equipment.
She said there was an urgent need for the government to look into electricity charges saying it was high while frequent blackout made it costly to run generators and also damaged medical equipment.
“We can change the story if the government looked into multiplicity of licences and taxes as there are too many bodies doing nearly the same thing. Unless we streamline such processes, investors will have no choice but to shift to other countries thereby denying our young people jobs,” she said.
Nairobi businesswoman Esther Passaris also called on imposition of a total ban on importation of finished products saying it was killing local industries.
She said entrepreneurship training should be mooted early to promote innovation at primary and secondary school as well as at college level.
The regional symposium and awards ceremony heard that political goodwill was necessary if cross-border trade was to flourish helping create a healthy intra-Africa foreign exchange line.
The fete saw several Kenyans recognised in their lines of business as leaders who had made a commendable social impact on society.
The event seeks to recognise East African nationals who have excelled in business and other fields while advancing economies and communities.
Among Kenya’s most influential Women were Dr Gikonyo (Medical), Dr Florence Wambugu (Lifetime Achiever), Purity Kagwuria (Welfare and Civil Society Organisations), Catherine Mahugu (SME), Esther Passaris (manufacturing) and Bishop Margaret Wanjiru (shipping and logistics).
In the men’s category, Dr Kamamia wa Murichu took home the regional trophy in Chemical and pharmaceuticals as Engineer Ayub Gitau was recognised for education and training while Mr Paul Njeru was feted in financial services.
Others were Titus Mutua (tourism and leisure) and Dr Robert Karanja (medical).