It is easier to do business in Kenya now, says KenInvest

The Kenya Investment Authority says changes in the regulatory and business environment will make Kenya the preferred FDI destination in the East African region.

Kenya attracted investments worth $470-million in the first half of this year, largely from foreign investors, data from the Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) shows.

The agency received 57 project proposals in various sectors in the first half of the year. Manufacturing, service industry, mining, energy and construction sectors garnered the highest number of projects.

To address challenges in the business environment, Kenya launched a Business Regulatory Reform Unit in 2006 to permanently keep track of all regulatory regimes and licensing, and ensure that new regulations, licenses, fees and charges do not create unnecessary burden for businesses.

Consequently, the licensing process has been simplified.

Other initiatives to improve the general regulatory and investment environment include:

The Limited Liability Partnership Act. No. 42 of 2011 - This Act repealed and replaced the Limited Liability Partnership Act (Cap. 30). The Act came to operation on 16th March 2012. The objective of the Act is to encourage the development of professional business and to provide an avenue for business to grow in a stable environment.

The Companies Bill, 2010 - Seeks to repeal and replace the Companies Act (Cap. 486) to simplify the process of registering a company. The bill is in the finalisation stage.

The Partnership Bill, 2010 - The bill seeks to regulate partnerships and to repeal and replace the Partnership Act (Cap. 29). The bill was published in December, 2010 and is awaiting the 2nd Reading in Parliament.

The Insolvency Bill, 2010 - It seeks to repeal and replace the Bankruptcy Act (Cap. 53) to simplify the procedures in bankruptcy and insolvency. It also seeks to encourage the dissolution of non-viable and inefficient businesses and the survival of the efficient ones and to maximize the value of liquidated assets. It provides for independent administration to take control of a business at the point of insolvency, provide for an equitable distribution of liquidation assets among creditors and provides effective mechanisms for indemnifying and prosecuting managers and directors whose illegal actions contribute to the insolvency of a firm. The bill is in the process of finalisation.

The Capital Markets (Amendment) Bill, 2011 - The objective of this bill is to introduce the concept of futures market for trade in commodities derivatives. It intends to facilitate the introduction of an over-the-counter market for bonds whereby bonds are traded otherwise than in an approved securities exchange. The bill was published on 8 June, 2011 and is awaiting its 1st Reading in Parliament.

The Special Economic Zones Bill, 2012 - The bill is to repeal and replace the Export Processing Zones Act and to provide for the establishment of Special Economic Zones, the promotion and facilitation of global and local investors and the development and management of an enabling environment for such investment. The bill is in the finalisation stage.

The Public Private Partnership Bill, 2012 - The objective of the bill is to provide an institution and regulatory framework for public private partnerships . It regulates the process of engagement of private parties and the manner in which public private partnerships are conducted so as to ensure the provision of high quality facilities and services. The bill has been approved by the cabinet and has been finalised for publication.

The Business Regulation Bill, 2012 - The bill seeks to regulate the manner in which the regulatory agencies shall impose licensing and other regulatory requirement on business activities. It provides for the establishment of a Business Regulatory Committee and the Business Regulatory Unit, which shall be responsible for its implementation. The bill also seeks to establish a Department of the Registrar General as a semi-autonomous statutory body for the efficient administration of laws relating to incorporation, registration, operation and management of companies, partnerships and firms, administration of laws relating to societies, hire purchase, chattels, transfers, adoption, marriages, coat of arms, books, newspapers, national flag, emblems and names. The bill is in the process of finalisation by the office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Finance for submission to cabinet.

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