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Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i (second left) and other Cabinet colleagues follow proceedings at a meeting with the private sector representatives at the Kenya School of Government at Kabete, Kiambu County yesterday. [Courtesy]
Interior CS tells roundtable discussion with business lobbies their concerns will be sorted out in the next three to six months.

The government has pledged to work with the private sector to address their concerns in driving economic growth and job creation.

Different private sector lobbies had put Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to task over the current gloomy business environment in the country, with the issue of pending bills said to have dominated a roundtable meeting in Nairobi yesterday.  

The joint discussion with State officials has traditionally been hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi.

Mr Matiang’i said the government had heard their concerns, and that action would be taken in the next three to six months.

“We wanted to listen and deal with the issues that are affecting growth so that we can create more jobs and employment for our people,” said the CS. Among the lobbies represented at the consultative meeting were the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa), Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) and Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI).

According to the latest Stanbic Bank’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), while there was an increase in new orders in October, companies could not fulfill them owing to low cash in circulation, with the headline PMI easing to 53.2 from 54.1 in September.

PMI is a survey that measures the health of the private sector. Readings above 50 signal an improvement in business conditions on the previous month, while readings below 50 show a deterioration.

A cash flow crisis among companies has been partly been attributed to the billions of shillings that the government agencies owe the private sector. Firms are owed more than Sh100 billion despite a presidential directive in June to clear the pending bills not been contested.

Despite Matiang’i’s assurance, he did not offer a concrete resolution on how the government would go about resolving the private sector’s concerns. “Our friends in the SME sector have asked and we are going to follow this very closely on how we can expand space for the SMEs and enhance investment,” he said.

Kepsa Chief Executive Carole Kariuki said the meeting was meant to discuss the economic stimulus needed to create jobs, revenue and investment but failed to give specific details.

“We looked at what can we do in the next one year that can add to the jobs and investment we already have and also to look at the revenue both that goes to the public and government,” said Ms Kariuki.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i Kenya School of Government
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