The Kenya Flower Council held a consultative meeting with regulatory bodies at Serena Hotel to address flower industry business facilitation under the devolved system of government. The meeting steered by the Kenya Investment Authority was attended by the Kenya Bureau of Standards, Directorate of Health and Safety, Kenya Revenue Authority, Pest Control Products Board, Water Resource Management Authority, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Ministry of Health, Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism and the Transition Authority.
The objective of the meeting was to address effective and efficient industry business facilitation under the devolved system of government with a focus to address the over 40 taxes and levies currently demanded of the industry.
According to Dr. Moses Ikiara, the Managing Director, Keninvest promotes, tracks, offers after care services, policy advocacy and facilitates investments in Kenya. He added that Kenya’s economy largely relies on the agriculture sector which contributes 22% of GDP.
He pressed on the need to harmonize and rationalize the licenses, permits and levies for efficiency and productivity. Dr. Ikiara said there is an urgent need to resolve how the proposed taxes by the devolved government would affect the industry and also the fast tracking of the finalization of the EAC-EU EPA negotiations.
The KFC Chief Executive Mrs. Jane Ngige said that there is need to adopt a unified approach across all counties and maximize use of technology to facilitate accounting processes. She pressed the need to harmonize all those services offered by the regulatory bodies. Flower farms spend up to between 46 – 90 hours per month chasing compliance with various government institutions e.g. WRMA, PCPB, NEMA among others. The Energy by government organizations could be harnessed to improve efficiency.
Kenya currently supplies more than 40% of cut flowers sold in Europe and has developing markets in Russia, the Far East and America among others. Vision 2030 anticipates 10% growth in the industry resulting in many more prospects.
Over the last four years, annual production has stagnated at about 120,000 tons due to escalating cost of production against diminishing returns from the main market in the EU, currently facing an economic down turn. The devolved system of government presents an opportunity to coherently address issues that truncated growth in a sector that previously recorded a 10% growth per annum for over 10 years.
The forum agreed:
- Some institutions conceded that indeed there was overlap and duplication of demands and that some of the demands were not objective citing complexities drawn from institutional mandates and performance contract.
- That each institution would review the list of the over 40 taxes in the discussions held and propose which and how the various taxies and levies could be merged or expunged.
- A second meeting will be held early January 2014 by a few of those present and consolidate proposals for further action.