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Mombasa’s governor-elect pledges business friendly environment

Mombasa Governor-elect Abdulswamad Nassir has pledged to create a conducive business environment for investment.

Nassir pledged to lower the cost of doing business by collapsing business licenses to one document.

He has assured of his commitment to creating a conducive business environment and supporting people with innovative ideas towards boosting the economic fortune of the coastal city.

The Governor-elect said his Administration will have policies geared towards creating an enabling business environment to enhance investments and industrialization.

He said there is a need to reduce the cost of doing business in the county in a bid to boost local and foreign investments.

The Governor said this during a business community networking dinner with members of the Mombasa business community organized by the Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) at Jumeirah Beachfront Hotel.

He was accompanied by Andrew Mwadime, Governor of Taita Taveta County for this inaugural business networking dinner.

The Governor outlined his plan for the economic revival of Mombasa County, the management of emerging issues related to port services and the management of public debt at County level.

Nassir also proclaimed that there shall be the consolidation of county licenses such as health inspection, business permit and fire inspection into a single business license to make it easier for businesses to go about their work in Mombasa.

He said business hindrances that include the existence of multiplicity of licenses, bureaucracy, cost and time consuming in processing of business licensing applications, permits and other authorizations would be dealt with.

“This is my pledge to you and is a promise I intend to deliver that we need to have a One Stop-Shop, it can be done,” said Nassir.

Nassir said that he will set up a business directorate in the Office of the Governor, whose job will be to ensure there is ease of doing business.

The Directorate, he said shall be reporting directly to him giving him weekly reports.

He also promised to have quarterly engagements with the business community.

“Our first agenda is to revive the economy of the County, and there is no best way to begin this than by engaging the stakeholders,” he said.

“We have begun discussions around having a single permit that means going forward, you will not necessarily have to pay something different for trade license, health or fire safety compliance,” Nassir said.

He also promised to push for an open skies policy at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa, to improve international tourism in the region.

Nassir said that the country cannot afford to have an airport that was upgraded at a cost exceeding Sh7 billion and be able to do nothing else except to receive domestic flights.

“I have a feeling that with the right presidency things are going to be extremely smooth. Either way as long as there is that element of common desire growth, any single person should be able to understand that we need to have open skies policies here in Mombasa,” he said.

Nassir said that he was already in talks with four institutions that want to set up Meeting Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) facilities in Mombasa that will boost tourism in Mombasa and the coastal region.

The Governor elect also promised that he will continue the fight and push to return port operations back to Mombasa.

Nassir said that the directive requiring business people with KRA pins registered outside Mombasa to pick their cargo from Nairobi was totally wrong.

“Just because someone registered their pin in Nairobi or somewhere else out of Mombasa, doesn’t give the institution the right to direct and force cargo to be collected in a certain area, that is totally wrong,” said Nassir.

He added that the conversation needed to move forward rather than just about the return of port services, but about having a stake in the Port.

“What is there to stop us from engaging in the conversation that we need to have a stake in the Port? We all know that the clearing and forwarding industry constitute 26 per cent of our economy, we know what has happened with the transfer of the port,” Nassir said.

KNCCI Mombasa Chairman, Mustafa Ramadhan, said that the business community was looking forward to the conclusion of the election process so that things can move on.

This is as the country awaits the Supreme Court ruling on the presidential election to be delivered on Monday.

He said that they want to see the possibility of a single business permit for everything.

“Right now we have a single business permit, but we have to pay for other licenses and permits. There is also talks of the possibility of people paying in installments for the single business permit,” he said.

He said the existing licensing system bottlenecks affect the business environment and increase cost of doing business in the county.

“We have a number of people in the informal sector who want to be formalized but they cannot afford to pay the single business permit upfront, we have talks to push for them to pay in installments,” said Ramadhan.

He also called for electricity efficiency and the cutting of red tape to push the ease of doing business.

“This is the message we are giving the new Governor, we want not just to complain, but also offer solutions,” he said.

Ramadhan noted that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) play a crucial role in every economy.

By Hussein Abdullahi

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