A focus on Kenya’s wholesale and retail sector

A focus on Kenya’s wholesale and retail sector

KIPPRA, through its Trade and Foreign Policy Division, held a roundtable discussion with stakeholders in the wholesale and retail trade sector on 16th November 2017.

Dubbed ‘Towards Effective Regulation of Kenya’s Wholesale and Retail Trade Sector’, the event attracted attendance from the Retail Trade Association of Kenya (RETRAK), Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA), Export Promotion Council, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), Nairobi County, Kenya Union of Commercial, Food and Allied Workers (KUCFAW) among other organizations.

The fruitful discussions kicked off with opening remarks from KIPPRA Executive Director Dr Rose Ngugi. After acknowledging the participants, Dr Ngugi briefly explained KIPPRA’s role in Kenya’s public policy and the importance of bringing together key players in both the government and private sector to enable development of possible and feasible policy options. She also pointed out the key contributions the wholesale and retail trade sector make to Kenya’s economy and towards the achievement of Vision 2030.

The head of Trade and Foreign Policy Division Dr Christopher Onyango said the roundtable provided a platform for exchange of ideas on how to strengthen institutional and regulatory framework for the wholesale and retail sector as well as an opportunity to make suggestions on how to assist policymakers, researchers, regulators, actors and all other stakeholders to access the performance of the sector. He added that the forum would also enable the discussion of various mechanisms through which the business fraternity, various government agencies and the county government can collaborate to enhance collection of bench-marking data to enrich the sectors database as far as performance indicators are concerned.

KIPPRA Policy Analyst Mr Mannaseh Otieno made a brief presentation of the concept note, highlighting the structure of the sector, its economic importance, regulatory environment and challenges.

Other keynote speakers were RETRAK Chief Executive Officer Ms Wambui Mbarire and the ACA Chief Executive Officer Mr Elema Halake. The CEOs highlighted their organizations’ role in ensuring a thriving and fair wholesale and retail sector as well as the many challenges the sector faces.

The plenary session brought out many issues affecting the sector including inadequate regulation, the absence of a standard framework to facilitate trade in the counties, varying levies across counties, multiple licenses and charges for various services and the need to consolidate various business permits instead of issuing them separately.

Some stakeholders also raised concern about the absence of standardized and comparable data across counties as well as varying categorization and definitions of businesses, making it difficult to analyze.

A representative from Nairobi County reported that they had developed a comprehensive database of all business in the county and that other counties had benchmarked against their template.

The roundtable ended with a vote of thanks from Policy Analyst Mr Paul Odhiambo and a call to stakeholders to continue the collaboration in future.

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