October 29, 2014 / 2:13 PM / 5 years ago

Kenya seen jumping ahead in World Bank business survey

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya could “leapfrog” ahead in the rankings of a World Bank survey on ease of doing business thanks to a drive to cut red tape, a leading business group said on Wednesday, after a relatively disappointing result this year.

The east African nation, with the ninth largest economy on the continent, ranked 136 in the survey by the World Bank, just one place higher than last year’s position of 137, and still well below top African performers Mauritius and Rwanda.

Carole Kariuki, chief executive of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), an umbrella group of firms, said it had seen positive changes this year in the business environment.

These changes include the creation of a single window system for clearing goods launched in May and an electronic tax payment system to cut down the time and paperwork for businesses filing their returns, Kariuki told a news conference.

“Provided we continue with the improvements, in the next report for 2016, we should really see Kenya leapfrog from where we are,” she said.

Adan Mohamed, minister for industrialisation and enterprise, told the same news conference the results of the latest survey did not reflect improvements made since the second quarter of this year.

“It is really very historical data that was used,” said Mohamed, citing an improvement in connection of electricity to businesses that now took an average of 30 days, up from 158 days when the survey was carried out in the first quarter.

He said the amount of time required to register a new business had fallen to 24 hours from 30 days at the time the survey was being prepared.

The latest survey showed respondents were angered by an increase in fees for building permits and a jump in the amount of money employers are supposed to pay for their employees’ social security.

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