Kenya and the UK have jointly launched a Business Regulatory Toolkit to help local Small and Medium-Sized (SMEs) and foreign businesses navigate the regulatory environment.
This development comes as small business, which have been worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic disruptions struggle to maintain cash flows and repay loans borrowed from commercial banks and other lenders.
The Toolkit, a free online resource, aims to improve business access to legal and regulatory information, simplify their knowledge of the changing regulatory requirement and advise on key regulators applicable to them within their business at different development stages.
This resource has been developed jointly by The Ministry of East African Community and Regional Development’s Department of Business Reforms and Transformation, with support from the British High Commission’s UK Kenya Tech Hub.
Other technical partners include UK Aid, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and Kenya National Innovations Agency (KENIA).
While launching this Business Regulatory Toolkit, the Ministry of East Africa Community and Regional Development’s Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed said the guide would accelerate the Government’s ambition to facilitate a conducive environment and assist businesses to grow.
“We have so far implemented over 47 legal reforms in the past 6 years, and this Toolkit is a transformational addition to further broaden the scope and reach of businesses to better understand the regulatory environment,” said CS Mohamed.
He said the Toolkit addresses information and awareness barriers that hamper the growth and management of startups due to a lack of relevant legal and regulatory information.
While less than one-half of business startups survive for more than five years, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
Kenya is currently registering over 400 businesses on a daily according to the latest government data.
“It is not enough to remove the legal and regulatory impediments, we need to continue nurturing and enabling this pool of businesses to transition them into the next generation of big businesses,” said CS Mohamed.
According to the Deputy British High Commissioner to Kenya, Julius Court, regulation was a key barrier identified by entrepreneurs as a challenge to businesses in a sector analysis that informed the development of the Toolkit.
“Regulation is important for entrepreneurs that are looking to grow and scale up their businesses. This is an area that can prove to be confusing and overwhelming for entrepreneurs whose main focus is to run their businesses. The Toolkit has focused on those areas and the sectors identified by businesses as most important,” said Ambassador Court.
“We exist to promote, support or advocate against legislation and ineffective bureaucratic measures in place of creation of a favorable commercial, trade and investment environment that supports enterprise expansion,” said Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KNCCI) President Richard Ngatia.
Since 2014, considerable reforms have been made in 10 indicators in Kenya, including starting a business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity; registering electricity; getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving and employing workers.
In World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2020, Kenya was ranked 56 th, 80 places from its 136 th position in 2014.
Within the six years, Kenya has been ranked the third-most improved country for three consecutive years (2015,2016, 2017), the most improved nation in Africa, and the third-most reformed country in sub-Saharan Africa, after Rwanda and Botswana.