The Senate Speaker’s Roundtable 2021. Economic Recovery During and Post Covid-19: Strategies and Opportunities in Building A Better Future Together

November 12, 2021 - Reading Time: 2 minutes - By Amrit Labhuram

The KEPSA Senate Speaker’s Roundtable is a high level platform between the business community led by KEPSA and the Senate, to facilitate a joint review of the policy and legislative environment in the country, identifies crucial legislations to private sector that need to be reviewed or fast-tracked, and addresses any gaps that require new legislative intervention based on the country’s and private sector development priorities. The Speakers’ Roundtable (SRT) process ensures that Parliament passes laws with the input from the private sector, thus ensuring that these laws lead to the desired impact on the business environment in Kenya.

According to KEPSA CEO Ms. Carole Kariuki, significant achievements have been realized over the past one year, most notably:

  1. KEPSA members’ awareness on various legislative interventions available to the public, key being a Petition to Senate on the Closure of Lands Registries and Administration of Key Lands registration processes.
  2. Enhanced cooperation and coordination between the Legislature and Private Sector on the Legislative agenda needed to jumpstart the economy and drive the Big Four development agenda.
  3. The enactment of the County Outdoor Advertising Control Act. With advertising being a key revenue stream for Counties, the Act ensures there is a balance between commercial, environmental and public safety considerations.
  4. The enactment of the Sectional Properties Act which makes it possible for owners of sectional properties to use their properties as security for financing;
  5.  The introduction of the following Bills in Senate:
    • The Start-up Bill 2020
    • The Prompt Payment Bill 2020
    • The Investment Promotion (Amendment) Bill 2020
    • The County Vocational Education and Training Bill 2020
    • The Mung Beans Bill 2020
    • The Parliamentary Powers and Privileges (Amendment) Bill, 2020
    • The Kenya Citizenship and Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2020
    • The Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill 2020
    • The Community Health Services Bill 2020

This year’s event had 6 sessions which discussed various issues. The sessions are:

  • Session 1: Opening
  • Session 2: State of the Economy Pre and Post COVID-19
  • Session 3: Regulatory reforms and processes for community healthcare workers to supplement efforts to combat COVID-19
  • Session 4:Agriculture: Re-Engineering Food Security Through Climate Smart Agriculture
  • Session 5: Revitalizing Industrialization, Trade And Investment
  • Session 6: Strengthening Devolution Through Enhanced Private Sector Investments

Matters arising

Across the various sessions, the following issues kept on coming up:

Cross-county levies
Many business leaders in the panels and in the plenary sessions stated that many county governments have introduced levies which make doing business in the country quite expensive. The senators present stated that they will work on a law that will deal with the multiple taxes.

Ease of doing business and harassment from authorities
The panelists also decried harassment from authorities stating that it makes doing business hard. To add on this, KEPSA advisor Linus Gitahi called for the abolition of non-tariff barriers to trade.

Peaceful elections
The issue of the 2022 elections came up because of its effect on the business environment. Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka called for peaceful elections, a call that was reiterated by other business leaders.

Legislative engagements
On the issue of taxes, Senator Wetangula said that the Senate does not legislate on taxes and that the business community has to engage the National Assembly since there is nothing the Senate can really do.

The Speaker of the Senate Hon. Sen. Kenneth Lusaka, in his remarks said that it will be a tall order to achieve all the things being talked about as the House was “descending.” He also said that this was the last Speaker’s Round Table under the 12th Parliament as there will be elections next year. 

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