The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry has lauded the continued focus on SMEs by the government terming it a step in the right direction. Speaking during the KNCCI Annual General Meeting in Nairobi KNCCI National Chairman Kiprono Kittony called on the government to come up with programmes that enable SMEs to thrive through proper policies and strategies.
The National Chairman called on the government to remove barriers to trade including delayed payments that have left many SMEs without free following capital with over Kshs. 200B owed to businesses by national and county governments. The chairman has to this end requested the government to grant tax amnesty on businesses that have defaulted on their tax obligations due to delayed payments.
“Delayed payments by the national and county government are the biggest barriers to the continued existence by SMEs, many of which are not considered creditworthy. We would request the government to grant any company listed on credit reference bureaus or owing KRA with amnesty if they can prove their failure to meet their obligations arises from delayed payments,” says KNCCI National Chairman Kiprono Kittony.
The chamber has also requested the Ministry of Trade to introduce a bill that mandates every business to have chamber membership as a way of strengthening the chamber as well as improving organization and transparency in various companies. Further the Chamber has requested that it be allowed to offer other certificates besides the certificate of origin as is the norm in other countries around the world.
Speaking at the same event Chief guest and cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Co-operatives Peter Munya said the government was introducing regulations to guide on delayed payments that will offer guidance on how government and business as well as business and business transact.
“We have draft regulations that will guide on this issue of delayed business to be overseen by the Competition Authority that will make sure big organizations do not get any unfair advantage over SMEs due to withheld payments. The government is committed to policies that will enable smooth business environment for businesses especially for SMEs,” says Peter Munya.
Other speakers at the event lauded the leadership of the outgoing chairman terming his reign at the helm of the business body as revolutionary. They thanked the chairman for his role in transforming the chamber to a thriving and vibrant membership organization.
Outgoing Chairman Kiprono Kittony has been on the helm of KNCCI since 2014 and is expected to handover after elections are held to choose a new national chairman by mid this year.