The Star (Nairobi)

28 June 2014

Kenya: President Uhuru Launches a One-Day Registration of Companies System

President Uhuru Kenyatta has launched a one-day registration of companies system to improve efficiency at the state law office.

The service - a component of a comprehensive Doing Business Improvement Programme - will improve transparency of enterprises by allowing access to the full list of directors serving any company registered in Kenya.

Speaking during the launch at the Attorney General's chambers, President Kenyatta said the service will allow Kenyans to search and reserve names for their businesses and companies from the comfort of their homes and offices.

The President said the Government is committed to automation and digitization of all its services to serve Kenyans better.

He said, "We will not create the jobs for our young people, if delays in service provision by Government departments impede the efforts of innovative Kenyans."

President Kenyatta said the Government has positioned the upgrading of the companies registry among other public services as one of its flagship reforms for rapid economic growth.

"Kenya's ranking in the Ease of Doing Business Index in the recent past has not been encouraging to many of us that are concerned about the social and economic development of our people," he added.

To further improve efficiency, President Kenyatta said all registry services have been opened to mobile money to enable payments by M-pesa.

Said the President, "The gains from this reform cannot be overemphasized. 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 opportunities for corruption."

He said streamlining of processes will enable payment of stamp duty and registration fees at the same time, with the Registrar of Companies stamping and registering the documents simultaneously.

President Kenyatta noted that the registration model being piloted at the Companies Registry will soon be rolled out to all Huduma Centers across the country.

"Today's simple process change will cut the time taken to pay stamp duty and register a company from 14 days to 24 hours," he said.

The President said all the three arms of the Government are undergoing restructuring to meet the reasonable demand by Kenyans for better public service delivery.

To reform the legal framework governing enterprises, President Kenyatta said two bills - the Companies Bill and the Insolvency Bill - are ready for tabling in Parliament.

The bills once approved by Parliament, he added, will introduce and entrench international best practices in corporate law and management.

The Companies Bill 2014 marks a real shift in the culture of government, since it embraces the gains that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) offers by providing a pathway for online registration services, President Kenyatta said.

The President said, "The Companies Bill 2014 will streamline regulation and ownership of businesses in Kenya. It also seeks to amend the Companies Act to align it with emerging trends in the formation and operation of companies, and to simplify their formation and operation."

Solicitor General Njee Muturi said 1.2 million files have so far been digitalized, adding that e-registry reforms will be extended to all stations.

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