Introduction
The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) is the apex body of the Private Sector in Kenya with a membership drawn from various sectors of the economy. KEPSA advocates on behalf of the Private Sector in respect of high-level national cross-cutting issues. It also coordinates the Private Sector’s engagement on public-private sector dialogue with the various arms of government.

 

Since its establishment in March 2003, KEPSA has sought the integration of the Private Sector as an equal partner with the various arms of government and other stakeholders in the formulation of laws and policies. Its overarching goalis to create an environment conducive to businesswhich makes Kenya a globally competitive investment destination with a high ranking in the ease of doing business index. An enabling policy and legislative environment is of the essence.

It is towards this end, that KEPSA has established mechanisms of engagement with various arms of government and, in particular, the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature. These engagements are facilitated through various mechanisms such as the Presidential Round Table, Speaker´s Round Table, Ministerial Stakeholders’forum and Judiciary Forum. At each of these forums, the Private Sector has raised specific issues of concern and sought building consensus with the respective organs.

Role of legislation in the business environment

KEPSA’s engagement with the executive, legislature and judiciary is anchored on the National Business Agenda (NBA) which seeks to sustain Kenya’s economic growth through reform of the business environment.The NBA is focused on five key thematic areas namely: governance and the business regulatory environment; security; infrastructure; trade and investment; and, human capital development and entrepreneurship.

The National Assembly has a primary role of enacting legislation critical in enhancing progress under each of these thematic areas. Legislation plays a critical role in creating a regulatory environment that enhances competitiveness, attracts investment and eases the cost of doing business.

On account of the critical role of legislation in regulating the Private Sector, KEPSA has partnered with the National Assembly through the Speaker’s Round Table and hence created a platform for structured engagement on legislativematters in line with the Constitutional principle on public participation.

The engagement between the Private Sector and the National Assemblyhas enhanced understanding on the unique needs of each side. By creating opportunity for dialogue, the potential disconnect between policy formulation and law makinghas been minimized. The Speaker’s Round Table has, therefore, created a platform for structured dialogue on specific legislative proposals to guide informed debate in the House.

Key milestones in KEPSA/National Assembly engagement

Since the inaugural Speaker’s Round Table in 2009, the Private Sector and the National Assembly have dialogued consistently and significant milestones have been achieved as a result. KEPSA has primarily engaged with the National Assembly through the various departmental committees and special parliamentary committees. Through these engagements, KEPSA has reviewed and provided input on various Bills. The National Assembly has benefitted from the insights and perspective of the Private Sector thus ensuring that proposed legislation meets its intended purpose.

Framing the purpose of proposed retreat between KEPSA and the Private Sector

The proposed retreat between KEPSA and the National Assembly will seek to review the engagement between the two institutions since the last Speaker’s Round Table. It will review specific action points agreed upon and the progress realized on implementation. It will also consider the priority issues on the legislative agenda and agree on an engagement framework between the Private Sector and Parliamentary Departmental Committees. KEPSA will highlight the National Business Agenda and the opportunities for progress under the NBA themes through the legislative process.

The expected outcomes from the retreat include:

•    Agreement on engagement with Parliamentary Departmental Committee on upcoming Bills
•    Improved understanding on ways of working between the Private Sector and Parliamentary Departmental Committees on legislative matters
•    Identification and prioritization of immediate short and long-term legislative priority areas of engagement in 2015
•    Understanding on the inter-phase between the National Business Agenda and the legislative process

The retreat will run over a period of two days. It will feature presentations from the respective KEPSA Sector Committees on specific legislation and responses from the chairs of concerned Parliamentary Departmental Committees. The retreat will maximize on the interactions between the participants through structured plenary presentations and open plenary discussions.

All these varied sessions will take into consideration the specific sector concerns oversighted by specific Parliamentary Departmental Committees and generate specific and detailed recommendations on the various sectoral issues.To maximize on securing an efficient workshop that is outcome-oriented, KEPSA will work closely on preparations and facilitation with the Parliamentary Liaison team, under the guidance of Speaker of the National Assembly. The retreat sessions during the retreat will be co-chaired by KEPSA and Speaker of the National Assembly.

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