Nakuru county government is fast tracking the county enterprise fund bill to unlock the budgeted KES 27 million that will benefit business people in the county. This is in response to the recommendations from the Nakuru Business Coalition during the County Dialogue Forum held recently in Nakuru.
The County Dialogue Forums are an ongoing initiative by Business Membership Organizations to have structured dialogue with county governments in a bid to ensure that their recommendations are included in the counties Annual Development Plans (ADPs) and the supporting legislative agenda. The ADPs are part of a legally enforced performance management framework for county governments. They detail prioritized projects and planned activities among other things for counties. The Legislative Agenda constitutes a set of policies and laws to facilitate the actualization of some of these priorities. The County Dialogue Forums in the first phase are being held in 8 counties namely Uasin Gishu, Machakos, Nakuru, Kisumu, Vihiga, Kiambu, Mombasa and Nairobi.
“As a county we realized that small businesses cannot access credit from our commercial banks and micro finance institutions. We came up with this fund as an intervention measure to assist these SMEs grow and we will give this fund at 0% interest. We have set aside a budget of 10 million shillings in addition to 17 million that is being held by the State Department of Trade,” said John Macharia, Nakuru County Acting Director Trade, Investment and Industrialization.
A fast-tracked bill goes through the normal stages of passage but with shorter waiting times.
“We need this bill to become a law so that the county can start disbursing the revolving fund. This fund which was called the trade development fund under the Ministry of Trade was very beneficial to us but they stopped disbursing it because there’s no law in place,” said Joseph Gichuru, Chairman of the Nakuru Business Coalition.
He went on to say that there’s goodwill from the county and they will continue to lobby the county assembly to ensure that the bill becomes law as fast as possible.
According to the bill, the fund shall consist of funds appropriated by the county assembly, contributions, gifts, grants, monies earned or arising from any investment of the fund.
The fund shall be used for supporting micro and small enterprises in providing affordable loans or credit for business capital to persons, providing training and skills development related to enterprise and business development, providing technical assistance in product and market development, facilitating technology acquisition, adoption and utilization.
Other issues that have come up during the county dialogue forums across other counties include double taxation, lack of a consolidated license, exorbitant land rates among others.
The Nakuru Business Coalition is constituted of 15 business membership organizations such as Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Nakuru Business Association(NBA),Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry(KNCCI),Federation of Kenya Employers(FKE),Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers(KENFAP),Agricultural Employers Association (AEA),Kenya Budget Hotels Association, Nakuru Residents Association, Nakuru Street Traders and Hawkers Association ( NASTHA),Motorcycle and Tuk Tuk Owners Association, Nakuru Residents Forum, Jua Kali Association, Matatu Association, Timber Manufacturers Association, Professional and Business Women Club(PBWC) and the Bar Owners Association.