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KNCCI & FICCI ORGANIZE THE 7TH INDIA – KENYA JOINT BUSINESS COUNCIL

The 7th India – Kenya Joint Business Council was held on 23rd August in Nairobi Kenya coinciding with the visit of the Minister for Commerce and Industry of Government of India Hon. Mr. Suresh Prabhu.The following are the key issues for consideration by Government of Kenya and Government of India during the JTC being held on 23rd and 24th August in Nairobi. The Joint Business Council consists of the Kenya and Indian governments as well as the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry.

The trade between India and Kenya has been witnessing high growth in the recent years with the estimated total trade of more than USD 23 billion in 2017-18. Given the scope for expansion, the JBC and the industries of the two countries should strive for further growth in trade.

Some of the suggestions that emerged during the discussion were:

  1. Kenya is currently considered as a middle- income country and hence is unable to avail duty free access and benefits given to LDCs. This may be taken up for consideration by the Government of India to correct the balance of trade situation which is heavily in favour of India.
  2. Indian businessmen/companies planning to invest in Kenya should be given incentives like long term business visas so as to facilitate the investment process. This could be taken up by the JBC with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kenya.
  3. There should be more direct flights between India and Kenya so as to strengthen the connectivity between the two countries.
  4. Development of a feedback mechanism from the JTC through which relevant business-related decisions/information can be shared with the private sector. One suggestion is to involve the chairpersons of the JBC (India and Kenya side) to participate in the JTC discussions. Also both governments to share information related to trade policies and investments for incorporating in the India – Kenya Business Portal to be developed under both the Chamber’s supervision.
  5. The turnaround time for approval processes for the implementation of PPP projects in Kenya need to be reduced to keep the investors interested. In this regard, the PPP office should be ideally be in a location which can be made accountable. For example in President’s office.
  6. Government of Kenya needs to address the slow decision – making process so as to build investor confidence.
  7. Government of Kenya needs to create a level playing field for the investors by developing an appropriate regulatory framework for example in the telecommunication and pharmaceutical sector in Kenya which affects, market entry and increases the cost of doing business for the foreign players.
  8. The cost of registration of medicines and pharmaceuticals. Registration cost should be a one- time cost for medicines/equipment. This is very critical as additional costs at a later stage such as retention of registration license needs to be waived so as to bring down the overall cost of doing business.
  9. Government of Kenya should strongly consider signing of the International Solar Alliance agreement. This will create manufacturing opportunities and jobs for Kenya in the solar and renewable energy in Kenya.
  10. Issues related to limitation of work permits for Indian expatriates. The current work permit regime does not allow business owners and senior managers period in excess of 4 years. This is a non tariff barrier that can become a hindrance to further and future investments. It needs to be re looked at urgently.
  11. Government of India and Government of Kenya to work closely to identify areas of cooperation in the area of Blue Economy. In this regard, there should be high level participation of both governments in the upcoming blue economy conference to be held in November 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya.
  12. Government of Kenya should work closely with the Government of India through the local Indian Mission in Kenya and the Kenyan mission in India to access channels of finances such as Exim Bank Lines of Credit to facilitate the implementation of the big 4 agenda.
  13. Government of India to review the turnaround time for processing lines of credit proposals (loan applications) with a view to make it shorter.
  14. There should be clear Information available regarding the approval of the lines of credit and utilization

The JBC reports progress in the following MoUs which were signed during the visit of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi to Kenya in 2016:

  1. a) Apollo Hospitals and Kenyatta National hospital
  2. b) Apollo Hospitals and Airtel Africa
  3. c) Dactari Total Healthcare Ltd, a Dhanush Infotech Company and Commercial Bank of Africa

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