Small and Medium Enterprises have urged government to harmonize laws, policies, regulations and standards governing their operations, at the national and county levels.
Speaking at the SMEs Regulatory Bootcamp, organized by Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), stakeholders from the SME sector said a complicated regulatory environment is harming their business operations due to the overreaching laws.
Small and medium-sized enterprises are the heartbeat of the Kenyan economy employing more than three-quarters of the working population and play a key role in its industrialization and growth effort.
East Africa Community Principal Secretary Dr Kevit Desai has said the government and the business community need to collectively play a more active role in creating an enabling business environment.
“Our thoughts, as government and the business community, need to collectively address challenges in policies, legislation, regulations, standards, and facilitative actions such as infrastructure. By involving the private sector, we shall give them an opportunity to play a more active role in creating an effective ecosystem, as well as an enabling and predictable regulatory business environment,” said Dr Desai.
Director for Enterprise Development at the Ministry of industrialization Nancy Muia added that the government is committed towards promoting value addition, developing and implementing policies to aid in SME development such as the Local Content Policy, promoting foreign direct investment in industry as well as establishing special economic zones and industrial parks.
KAM Manufacturing SME Hub Chair, Ciiru Waweru, further explained that numerous regulations and an arduous regulatory regimes make it difficult to invest in Kenya.
“When effectively implemented, regulations create an enabling environment for competitiveness by enforcing fair business practices, driving equal opportunity and inclusive participation of all in the economy. However, when overdone, the end goal is a zero-sum game. It stifles Manufacturing SMEs’ growth, and reduces their competitiveness and productivity at the local, regional and international markets,” said Waweru.
The boot camp brings together all sectoral players to discuss challenges and opportunities within the SME sector