Lusaka: Senate Committed to Address Double Taxation, Pending Bills in Counties
DIANI, 23 November, 2018 – The Speaker of the Senate, Rt Hon Sen Kenneth Lusaka has affirmed that the Senate is committed to address the issues of double taxation and pending bills which frustrate, stifle and discourage private sector activities and investment in counties.
While addressing about 200 delegates at the Speaker’s Round Table (SRT)– comprising over 20 Senators and Members of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) – Speaker Lusaka said those issues stood out as pertinent.
“These are key concerns and issues which the Senate is keen to audit and address through new legislation, repealing repugnant laws or amending existing ones,” Sen Lusaka observed.
While challenging County Governments to expedite payment of pending bills to attract investments, the Speaker also lauded Government’s efforts and commitment in the fight against corruption.
“Ultimately, when the on-going war on misgovernance and graft is won, it will improve not only the business environment, but also the ease of doing business in our counties and Kenya as a whole, which has lately improved according to the World Bank index,” said Sen Lusaka.
Resonating with the Senate Speaker’s observations, KEPSA Chair, Nick Nesbitt said that KEPSA considers the engagement with the Senate very seriously, cognizant of the Senate’s crucial roles as enshrined under Article 96 of the Constitution.
“As KEPSA, we believe the impact of our engagements with the Senate is reflected in Kenya’s year-on-year improvement in the overall business environment,” remarked Nesbitt.
The KEPSA Chair observed that since 2014, Kenya has climbed up the global ranking by 75 positions in the Ease of Doing Business Index to position 61.
KEPSA CEO, Carole Kariuki noted that since the birth of the unity pact between HE the President Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA leader Rt Hon Raila Odinga the business industry has enjoyed a stable environment, but urged the Senate to look into the issue of frivolous revision of policies.
"Sometimes it is difficult for businessmen to do business in an environment where policies keep on changing. Predictability of the policies is very key in the growth of business entities and it's our prayer that the government looks into that," she said during the 4th Edition of the Speaker’s Round Table.
On his part, the Clerk of the Senate, Mr Jeremiah Nyegenye, reported that since the last engagement between the Senate and KEPSA in 2016, various legislative proposals geared towards improving the business environment had been initiated.
These legislative proposals include but are not limited to- The Public Participation Bill; The Public Private Partnerships (Amendment) Bill; The Warehouse Receipts System Bill; The County Outdoor Advertising Control Bill; The Local Content Bill; and The County Governments Retirement Scheme Bill.
The Speaker’s Roundtable is an annual engagement platform between the business community and the Senate that facilitates a joint review of the policy and legislative environment in the country, identifies crucial Bills to private sector that need to be reviewed or fast-tracked, and addresses any new laws that need to be passed, based on development priorities.