The business regulatory framework in Kenya is a major obstacle to economic growth.
When the Government introduced the single business permit, the logic was to amalgamate duplicative licenses into one. However, this has not solved the problem as the spirit of the policy was never internalised.
There are still many licenses and their enforcement is riddled with crass harassment and corruption which is very frustrating to small businesses.
Let’s take restaurants and music copyright licenses. The Music Copyright Society has always levied fees for music played in public places irrespective of the source, whether it’s CD or radio and irrespective of whether you play local or foreign music.
One bone of contention is why restaurants have to pay copyright fee for TV content when, for example, they have subscribed to DSTV for the signals. The cost of DSTV is high, now hiked to Sh9, 400 per month, yet restaurateurs are still required to pay more money to the Music Copyright Society. This amounts to double payment.
And even after bearing this injustice, other institutions recently came up, namely Kenya Association of Music Producers and Performers Rights Society of Kenya. They are now mandated by law to also levy copyright fees from traders, who now have to pay twice the amount for two licenses dealing with the same issue.
This is how regulatory framework is killing small business in Kenya with too many overlapping licenses.