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Treasury seeks city financial hub space

National Treasury
The National Treasury in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Treasury is seeking office space for the planned Nairobi International Financial Centre Authority (NIFC), kicking off Kenya’s last-mile bid for a regional financial hub.

The ministry in a notice invited Grade A office owners and managers to offer “urgent-and-available” space measuring about 7,400 square feet that will house the secretariat.

“NIFC’s term lease is for a maximum of six years where the property should have security systems to control movement and NIFC is looking to occupy an entire floor,” it said.

The notice giving prospective applicants up to August 6 to file bids says the preferred location should be within Nairobi County with a presence of financial institutions and financial services regulators.

“Proximity to the Treasury, Central Bank of Kenya, Retirement Benefits Authority and Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) is beneficial. Accessibility to JKIA and Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), registrar of companies among others is good,” adds the notice.

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Except for the Westlands-based NSE, the institutions are based in the Nairobi CBD or Upperhill nearer the JKIA, giving a good hint of the likely location.

NIFC, says the Treasury requires a building with about 30 reserved parking slots, IT connectivity, back-up water and power plan as well as firefighting equipment among other risk mitigation facilities.

Upper Hill, Hurligham, Kilimani, Parklands and Westlands have recently experienced a construction boom.

where heavy investments were sunk in development of Grade A offices that boost global green status in matters natural ventilation, lighting, water and recycling harvesting.

Kenya’s dream for a NIFC got a major boost in 2016 after the Cabinet approved a bill that later went through parliament with President Uhuru Kenyatta signing it into law.

Once activated Nairobi will host NIFC with equal status with Johannesburg, Aden), London, Tokyo, New York, Dubai or Mauritius IFC centres that host an array of business transactions in one location under a low-tax regime.

Analysts, however, say Nairobi has already established itself as a sophisticated forex market that offers competitive advantage. But they agree the legal framework is critical for the business.

In the 2019/2020 Budget Policy Statement (BPS), Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich expressed the government’s commitment to fund establishment of an IFC and establish rules to guide the formation of financial hub to operationise the NIFC Act.

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