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Kebs is competent, Raila tells traders

By | May 14th 2009

By Luke Anami

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has differed with some private sector players who have accused the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) of incompetence.

He said Kebs should be given room to enhance the quality of standardisation and not to advance business rivalry.

"Now that the Kebs marks are being abused, action will be taken to reign in institutions that are responsible. However, plans are underway to ensure that Kebs serves the industry and not become the master in the industry," said Raila, when he chaired the third Prime Ministers Round Table at Safari Park Hotel, on Wednesday.

"It is now you also who are responsible for the mess you find yourself in with Kebs," he said.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) chairman Engineer Patrick Obath had raised the issue of multiple levying agencies in existence today as hurting businesses. He asked the Government to put in place a regulatory reform strategy that will harmonise Government institutions roles to reduce the cost of doing business.

Reform strategy

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"We would like the Government to address the issue of multiple levying agencies. For example, responsibility and charges for environment or health and safety between local authorities and designated agencies like Nema and Kebs should be made clear," said Obath. "The processes and bottlenecks in these institutions places administrative burdens that are lengthy, burdensome and costly procedures, unsuitable for a viable business environment," he added.

The Prime Minister directed the Ministry of Finance to fast track the Business Regulation Bill and the Regulatory Reform Strategy to make an improved business environment a reality.

He asked the Private Sector to validate the Public Sector Stakeholder Partnership Draft Paper by June to provide a framework for engagement on all areas of concern and enable the round table to discuss critical policy issues.

The Minister for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 Wycliffe Oparanya said the Government had negotiated for funding of Sh2.5 billion from the African Development Bank.

Eleven centres of excellence and eight technical training institutions, one in each province , will be put up, to address the mismatch between skills development and needs of the job market.

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