By: BRIAN NGUGI
Kenya has moved to remove bottlenecks surrounding issuance of construction permits that have been dragging the country down in global business competitiveness.
A special committee involving construction sector regulators and industry stakeholders will look into the nature of the permits issued in the construction sector and related challenges.
The team will then recommend whether the permits should be simplified or eliminated altogether going forward, depending on their relevance.
“The Acting Lands, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has formed a committee comprising the National Construction Authority (NCA) and other regulators as well as stakeholders in the sector to look at the issue.
“We have made a proposal to have a one-stop shop approach to the issue,” NCA executive director Mr Daniel Manduku, told the Nation on Tuesday.
In the recently released World Bank’s 2016 Ease of Doing Business Index, Kenya was ranked as the third most-improved nation in business regulatory reforms among 189 economies.
The report placed Kenya at position 108, an improvement by 21 places from last year’s position.
However, difficulties in acquiring construction permits affected the country’s overall ranking.
Kenya’s ranking as an investment destination improved, largely due to the introduction of Huduma Centres and a campaign to increase electricity connections.
WATER AND SEWERAGE CONNECTIONS
“Kenya made dealing with construction permits more difficult by requiring an additional approval before issuance of the building permit and by increasing the costs for both water and sewerage connections,” said the report.
Mr Manduku said proposals reached by the committee would be sent to the acting Lands Cabinet Secretary, who will in turn present them to the Cabinet before Parliament enacts the relevant legislation to unlock challenges in the area.
“We intend to all sit at one point and enable developers apply for a single permit. We also propose to have a single payment window for all fees,” Mr Manduku said.
In the dealing with construction permits indicator in the latest World Bank’s report, Kenya attained position 149, up three positions from 152 in the previous year.
Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) CEO Carole Kariuki at the time said that there was urgent need to improve the laws and regulations dealing with the rigorous process of issuing the construction permits.
“Despite these achievements, more can be done to improve other indicators and with the recent presidential assent (to the) Companies, Business Registration Services and Insolvency Acts, the quality of the rules can only continue to improve, thereby creating an enabling business environment for the private sector and laying the foundation for further reform,” Ms Kariuki had said during the release of the World Bank’s index on October 28.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION