Nairobi — Kenyans can now register new businesses instantly using their mobile phones as opposed to going to the Registrar of Companies at Sheria House where applicants spend weeks waiting for their certificates.
In the new programme launched on Friday afternoon, applicants are required to dial *271# to be able to access services offered at the State Law Office which include business registration and marriage certificates among others.
Solicitor General Njee Muturi said the new system will help curb corruption which is rampant at the Registrar of Companies offices.
"Under this system, people will not need to come here to register a company. They will be able to do so online. They will also be able to follow up on that registration, businesses and other document submissions online. The final phase is to develop mechanisms for disseminating selected personal information to credit information agencies and financial intermediaries including KRA," he stated.
He revealed that the State Law Office will be able to interact and connect with the agencies so that any one person who is a director can be traced using his income tax, ID or his birth certificate.
"You can use the mobile device to access our services. Right now you can do name searches and reservations using *271#. You can also call the contact centre at 070115595. We have also connected all our services and remote connections via Wide Area Network and we also have our money payments by mobile payment by mobile money on Safaricom," he said.
He explained that the office will also have Posta Pay to pay stamp duty and other charges.
"We will also be introducing apart from Safaricom other mobile service providers and other banks to provide services so that we can have as many available opportunities for our citizens to provide services," Njee stated.
Speaking during the launch, President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that the initiative will especially help the youth in registering their companies to enable them take advantage of the 30 percent State contracts set aside for them.
"We have as a government said that we want thirty percent of all government procurements to go to our young people and women. That cannot happen if it is difficult for our young people to register a company, a partnership and a business. We need them to be able to access this so that they can take advantage of the opportunities before them," he said.
"I am informed the facility allows Kenyans to search out and reserve names for their businesses and companies from the comfort of their homes and offices. The service also improves the transparency of our enterprises, since it allows access to the full list of directors who serve any company registered in Kenya."
The Head of State said that the clearer records this reform will enable and the speed, with which payments for company registration can be processed, will sharply reduce delay in service provision as well as reduced opportunities for corruption.
"Of course, the delays and problems of the past were not simply a matter of technology. Processes matter too. And so we have agreed to streamline them. The payment of stamp duty and registration fees will now be received as a one-time payment - this means the Registrar of Companies can simultaneously stamp and register the documents," he said.
He emphasised that the benefits of this reform are indisputable since it will significantly cut down on the time used to deliver services.
"The collection of stamp duty has traditionally been a cause of long delay in the registration process. Today's simple process change will cut the time taken to pay stamp duty and register a company from 14 days to 24 hours. And, although this registration model is being piloted at the Companies Registry, it will soon be rolled out to all Huduma Centres," he stated.