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Uhuru's Big Four agenda centre stage at Speaker’s Roundtable

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By ERIC MATARA
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The first Speaker’s Roundtable of the 12th Parliament will focus on the role of counties in the implementation of the big four agenda.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) and the Senate will begin their discussions on Friday at Leisure Lodge Beach Resort in Ukunda, Kwale County.

Kepsa organises the meetings annually and uses them to lobby parliament to support businesses.

Ms Carole Kariuki, the Chief Executive Officer of Kepsa, pointed out that with devolution, Kepsa identified counties as the most important administrative units where business is concerned.

“The Senate plays an important role in ensuring they become the frontiers of economic development and progress,” she said.

“We can count many achievements from the time we began these engagements with the Senate, chief of which is that we have a clear understanding of the way our institutions work.”

The Senate’s first Speaker’s Roundtable was held in October 2013, setting the pace for the forums in which Kepsa and the lawmakers discuss devolution, ease of doing business and a conducive legislative environment.

The National Assembly held a similar meeting a month ago.

Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka described the inaugural meeting as a testament to the significance of the relationship between Kepsa and the House.

“This year’s roundtable is crucial as it provides a unique opportunity to reflect on milestones reached under the 11th Parliament, take stock of where we are and accelerate the attainment of sustainable development,” said Mr Lusaka.

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He noted that given that three of the big four are primarily functions of devolved units, it is crucial for the Senate to be involved in developing the public-private partnerships (PPPs) that will make their implementation possible.

The speaker further noted that the private sector is a critical engine for sustainable economic growth and development

“We are alive to the benefits that foreign direct investments have on our economy but remain committed to seeing our private sector flourish, creating employment, improving quality and lowering the cost of goods and services, and providing a reliable income stream for the government through taxes,” he said.

Kepsa, which is pushing for the reduction of the cost of doing business within and across counties, has identified what is required.

They are the provision of land at a good cost to investors, critical infrastructure, simplification of the process of property registration, transfer and acquisition of construction approvals, supporting innovative local building technologies and lowering the cost of construction materials.

This year’s roundtable comes as Kenyans discuss sustainable economic growth, revenue generation, debt management, effective taxation and governance.

Kepsa seeks to establish a mechanism for coordination between the legislature and the private sector on the quick wins that can help in the implementation of the president’s agenda.

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