As Kenya edges closer to its August 2017 general elections, Kenya’s business community is strongly spelling out specific criterion that both its members and all Kenyan electorate must use as they prepare to cherry-pick their leaders.
For the next five years, the elected leaders who will be running both the national and local governments must commit to addressing two major issues.
Number one: Pass and implement the County Governments Tax Regulation Process Bill 2016. If passed, this bill is bound to allow efficient processes of approval of plans and policies at the county level.
Number Two: Actively get engaged in the exploration of low cost housing technologies and coming up with a sustainable funding structure for the middle and lower class urban dwellers.
The upcoming elected leaders must push for the speeding up of automation of land registration and processing of title deeds at county and national level and at the same time reduce land processing fees.
While articulating their specific concerns through the Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), the business community is compelling the Kenyan electorate and key decision makers to only align themselves with political parties and politicians who have specific solutions to the specific areas of great concern to the major sectors of Kenya’s economy.
The Chamber has pointed out issues that are of concern to the Kenyan real estate sector. These include high housing cost, prohibitive legislative, multiple taxation and licensing, high interest rates on mortgages, uncertainty over economic conditions, ease of enforcing contracts, high energy costs, limited access to finance and poor infrastructure.
While weighing in on the expectations of the business community, Kenya’s leading real estate CEO, Mr George Wachiuri noted that the Kenyan real estate sector is on an upward trajectory and that both county and national governments have a major role to play in further strengthening this key sector.
“The elected leaders in Kenya must be alive to the fact that this country has an accumulated housing deficit of over 2 million units. We need 244,000 housing units in different market segments annually to keep up with demand. Sadly, the current production is less than 50,000 units,” says Optiven Limited’s captain, Mr Wachiuri.
Other issues that are of concern to the business community include lack of harmonized licensing policy between national government and the county governmentsin addition to overlapping mandate of policies by various government agencies. Double taxation and delayed payments by county governments to businesses as well as lack of participation in the county finance bills by the business community.