Wednesday, 27 June 2012

DOING BUSINESS IN KENYA: Thika ranked among the best

In October 2008, the World Bank Group in conjuction with the Office of the Prime Minister and the Kenya Local Government Reform Programme launched the Sub National Business Project. The objective of this programme was to derive indicators that would be used to develop intervention measures for strengthening the Kenyan Local government sector. World Bank has commenced such programmes across the globe with the findings used to rank countries on the ease of doing business on their different cities.

I have always believed that the true capability of Thika is under estimated. Occasionally its due to misinformation or sheer ignorance. Frequently you will get scores migrating from Nyeri, Nakuru and other towns across Kenya to go to the capital city Nairobi seeking employment or to open a businesses. But do you know that Nairobi has  one of the highest rent rates in the country. According to the World Bank survey since 2008, Nairobi lags behind Narok, Thika, Malaba in starting and registering a business. It is more difficult to start a business in Kilifi, Isiolo and welll...Nairobi. Lets imagine you want to start a stall, chemist or simply a low income hotel in Nairobi..where do you start, where do you get an empty shop or stall, who do you consult in the city with hundreds of con men waiting to feast on the new business people. Those who have visited City Hall for a permits can attest to the queues. Am not discrediting the City Hall in any way but just analyzing the World Bank findings.

Doing business in Kenya Research Program undertakes an analysis in four key components namely, starting a business,dealing with construction permits,registering property and enforcing contracts. Thika records a 1,7,3,7 performance against 11 cities selected for the pilot phase of the World Bank Survey..This gives it number 3 only below Narok and Malaba border. It beats key towns like Nairobi, Kisumu, Nakuru, Mombasa and Nyeri hands down. Well in the Sub Saharn Africa region, Thika is ranked number 8 in the number of procedures required in starting a new business.
Its worth noting that the Thika - Super Nairobi Highway is now 97 % complete and in a few months will be officially opened. From a business sense its a great advantage for Thika Town. Occassionally when starting business one needs to charter to Nairobi for services which are not yet in Thika. Filing for details with the Attorney General office at Sheria Office and approval of Company's Name with the registrar of Comapnies requires one to go to Nairobi..Well Nairobi is 150 bob and 25 minutes away. This means that with 300 bob and 50 minutes you can afford a to and fro "flight" to Nairobi.
Fortunately all other requirements can be obtained from Thika..Why...Thika has a KRA Regional Office, A Ministry of Lands, NHIF, NSSF, and a fast and competent Municipal Council..And if you need to pay Stamp Duty ,there are more than 15 commercial Banks operating with Commercial Bank of Africa being the latest entrant. National Bank of Kenya and Oriental Commercial Bank are just setting shop..
This means that capital is just metres away since many banks are opening doors to the emerging crop of entrepreneurs.. It really pains when ones sees high end private developers invading the town to capture the numerous investment opportunities in the town while young entrepreneurs and youth groups watch.
The difference between the private developers and the young intellectuals is that we have not realized the numerous opportunities and ease of doing business in Thika..These developers have taken advantage of the quick and easy process of setting shop in Thika and its emerging markets..Tomorrow we will have a look at these markets as we seek to sensitize the youth and the business community on this exciting market..Be sure to follow this discussion as we try to unlock the towns business potential and opportunities.
Statistics courtesy of doing


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