President Uhuru Kenyatta has assented to several Bills geared to make the economy more business friendly.
The President signed the Bills described as a milestone in Government efforts to transform Kenya’s business climate at a ceremony at State House, which was attended by representatives of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance.
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 Companies Act will revolutionise business in the country as it eases the stringent rules that were provided in older 1947 law.
It will now be 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 Act also removes the condition that small companies should have a company secretary just like big firms.
The new law also removes the requirement that private firms should have an annual general meeting each year.
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 Insolvency Act also introduces a revolutionary approach in dealing with companies that are facing hard times.
Under the Insolvency Act, troubled companies will have a chance to implement survival measures before receivership is resorted to.
President Kenyatta 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,” he said. “Each one of us has a role to play for Kenya to become a first world economy,” he said.
Cabinet Secretary for Industrialisation Adan Mohamed said the new laws will make Kenya more business friendly.
He said the laws were formulated with the recognition that SMEs play a big role in the economy of the country.
The Chairman of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, Mr 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.
Mr Awori said the Special Economic Zones Act will herald a new beginning for Kenya’s indsutrialisation.
“Many countries, especially those in the Far East, industrialized on the back of special economic zones,” he said.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) manager for investment climate, Mr 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.
Mr Twariga also praised the Government for working closely it is working with the private sector.