23 November 2018

Kenya: Pay Pending Bills to Attract Investors, Lusaka Urges Counties

Mombasa — Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka has challenged governors to expedite payments of pending bills in their respective counties in a bid to woo more investors.

Lusaka regretted that potential investors are shying away from investing in counties due to what he described as lack of payment or delayed payments.

According to the Controller of Budget, counties owe contractors huge sums of money running to billions.

Lusaka who spoke during the Speakers Round Table with members of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) in Kwale County on Friday said for growth of business to be realized fully in counties, governors must play their part effectively especially paying entrepreneurs.

"The Senate is keen to audit and address through new legislation, repealing repugnant laws or amending ones that mainly touch on pending bills which frustrate and discourage private sector activities and investments in counties," Lusaka said.

He lamented that some governors had resorted to evading contractors especially if the current governor did not contract them.

"There are reported cases in some counties where developers have committed suicide because they were taken round in circles when it came to them being paid their dues for the work done," he said.

Lusaka however gave the business community assurances that the Senate had outlined sufficient measures to deal with such scenarios where investors are denied what rightfully belongs to them.

"The Senate recently finished debating the Assumption of Office Bill that now will make contractors not deal with individuals but an institution. If a developer did business with a previous governor and he/she was not re-elected, the developer will need not to worry because going forward the transactions will be seamless," he said.

Lusaka further said the Senate is working on laws to address the issue of double taxation by county governments, increase in local content and provision of necessary research and infrastructural capacity to counties to be knowledge based to improve quality of development planning and market intelligence.

KEPSA boss Carole Kariuki said since the unity pact between President Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA leader Raila Odinga, business has been good but urged the Senate to look into the issue of shaky policies.

"Sometimes it is difficult for businessmen to do business in an environment where policies keep on changing. Predictability of the policies is very key in the growth of business entities and it's our prayer that the government looks into that," she said during the 4th session that was held at Leisure Lodge Resort.

Bidco Africa Chief Executive Vimal Shah accused counties of restricting flow and movement of goods and services through multiple levies.

"We recently signed the African Continental Free Trade Area that will facilitate movement of goods and services within Africa but how will we achieve this when counties are restricting goods though multiple levies?" he asked.

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