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President inks new laws to improve business climate

12 September 2015, 17:22

Nairobi - President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday assented to several business bills geared to make the economy more business friendly.

A statement from Kenyatta's office said the new acts include the Companies Act, the Insolvency Act and the Special Economic Zones Act, the Business Registration Service, the Companies and Insolvency Legislation (Consequential Amendments) Act 2015 and Finance Act amendments 2015.

The new laws will make it possible for one person to set up a company whereas in the past it was a requirement to have two people to register a company. The new laws also remove the condition that small companies should have a company secretary just like big firms, as well as the removal of the requirement that private firms should have an annual general meeting each year.

Kenyatta described the bills as a milestone in government efforts to transform Kenya's business climate at a ceremony in Nairobi, which was attended by representatives of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance.

The president said the government is dedicated to transform the business environment of the country, asking state agencies and the private sector to change their approach to doing business.

"Laws alone cannot make a difference. What matters is how they are implemented. Each one of us has a role to play for Kenya to become a first world economy," he said.

The Special Economic Zones Act, the first of its kind in Africa, is aimed at creating enabling environments for global and local investors in specially designated zones.

The East African nation has set aside 3,400 square kilometres of land to be used for development of special economic zones. The land will be in three regions; the lake side city of Kisumu and coastal regions of Lamu and Mombasa.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) manager for investment climate, Frank Twariga, said the IFC and the World Bank are watching Kenya keenly for it is the first country in Africa to enact a law on special economic zones.

"We will be sending delegations to Kenya to come and learn how this plan is being implemented," he said.

Cabinet Secretary for Industrialisation Adan Mohamed said the new laws, formulated with the recognition that SMEs play a big role in the economy of the country, will make Kenya more business friendly.

The Chairman of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, Dennis Awori, said the business community was pleased with how the government fast tracked the passing of the new laws which the private sector had been waiting for since the 1990s.

"The private sector has been pushing for the Companies Act, the Insolvency Act and the Special Economic Zones Act for many years. We are grateful that in the first two years of your government, we have them," he said.

He said the three laws will provide clarity for investors and improve Kenya's attraction as a preferred investment destination.

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- Xinhua


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