1Untapped huge business opportunities:Are the youths in Kenya sleeping giants?Youths in Kenya have been urged to register their businesses so as to takeadvantage of the huge business opportunities in public procurement. Thiswas said on Friday 22ndFebruary 2013 by Ms Mwanamaka Mabruk theChief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kenya National Shipping Line a subsidiaryKenya Ports Authority (KPA) during KPA Suppliers’ Conference.
2The Youths running businesses should register with Ministry of Finance toensure they get a share of the Public Procurement Contracts as providedunder the Law and decreed by Retired President Mwai Kibaki.Mr Oyaro the Head of Procurement KPA echoed the same sentiments. Heconfirmed that no single Business owned by Youths or a DisadvantagedGroups participated in bidding for the many contracts worth of KenyaShillings (Kshs) Billions KPA advertised in current financial year. Hereported that KPA has embraced Electronic Procurement (e-procurement)which will be rolled out in March 2013 on the SAP platform. He added infuture there will minimal human interactions with the KPA ProcurementOfficers because all the buying processes will be paperless. He warnedthat free email contacts from yahoo!, gmail, hotmail etc will not beacceptable.President Kibaki is on record saying, through Affirmative Action, the youthswill be empowered to supply 10 percent (%) of the value of goods, servicesand works procured by Government. The President directed Treasury andthe State Law Office to eliminate any legal or administrative obstaclesblocking the youths from accessing Public Tenders. He also ordered allministries to include youth focused targets in performance contracts of alltheir departments.President Uhuru Kenyatta increased the reservation percentage thresholdfrom 10% to 30 %.
3The Minister of Finance responded through the publishing legal notice no.58 in Special issue of Kenya Gazette of where Public Procurement andDisposal (Preference and Reservations) Regulations, 2011 were made intolaw.There are many acceptable legal statuses for the Youths. The Youths canoperate these forms of business organization from sole proprietorship intheir human names to Registered Business Names, partnership, jointventures, Consortiums and limited Company. The process of registeringwith Minister of Finance is easy. All that is needed is one to fill in the formtitled: Registration form for Youth Enterprises for supply of goods, Worksand Services to Government. Here is the website (URL) to ministry ofFinance: www.treasury.go.keIn the Conference, the Representatives from the Public ProcurementOversight Authority (PPOA), the procurement and disposal regulatory bodyin Kenya pointed out that the reforms in public procurement and disposalsystem is playing a critical role in achievement of Kenya Vision 2030; whichis to create a globally competitive and prosperous country with a highquality of life by 2030. They reported that in financial year of 2008 theCentral Government procurement as percent of GDP was 27 %representing about Kshs 475 Billions.PPOA representatives advised all Public Entities that the commonDisclaimer Statement …. shall not be bound to accept lowest bid is acontrary to Public Procurement Laws and should be not be included on anadvertisement for invitation of tenders / bids. The lowest bidder ought to beawarded the tender Committee. That is the spirit and letter of the Laws of
4Kenya. It also supports economics principles of fair competition and valuefor money.All the speakers in the Event challenged the youths, women and personswith disability to compete in public procurement processes to boost theirliving standards and create employment. The Youths were urged andreminded that Government has preferred them. They should change fromchasing the elusive employment vacancies to seizing the reservedbusiness opportunities.The implementation of Constitution of 2010 is at peak with first GeneralElection slated for March 4. The devolved system of Government meansmore business opportunities for the locals and by extension the Youths.The CEO of Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL) who was the Guest ofHonour also said because of legal relationships between KPA and KNSLthe pre-qualified suppliers are usually lifted from the database of KPA andgiven opportunity to do business with KNSL. My dear reader don’t youagree that it can never be better than this?Also in attendance were representatives from major financial institutions inCoast Region, a demonstration of Public Private Partnership. Equity Bank,Family Bank, Eco Bank, ABC Bank, Consolidated Bank, Rafiki Microfinance to name a few. They were unanimous that an entrepreneur whosecures a Local Purchase Order (LPO) or Local Supplier Order (LSO) frommost Government Institutions should visit their halls 100% assured thatfinancial resources will be availed to him/her. Of course subject tomanageable terms and conditions.
5My question is: how many Kenyans are going to profit from this advice? Ichallenge you if you are over 35 years old, the Kenya Laws bars you fromdoing business as youth; enable a youth access this opportunity. If you area youth or a lady or a person with disabilities I urge you act on thisimmediately. I rest my case by asking you to review the figure of SimplifiedProcurement Legal framework in Kenya at beginning of the article.Now, suppliers have rights that are enforceable and must be respected byall Procuring Entities. We have come a long way. Before this legalframework was developed and implemented Procurement Departments(houses) was a likened to “The den of thieves” in the Bible. PresidentKibaki in 2003 after first victory of Multi-Party General Election in Kenya; hedecreed for en masse dismissal of all serving Procurement Officers inPublic Service. In the past on one hand the corrupt entrepreneurs operatingin briefcase offices “supplied” air and were promptly paid millions from thePublic coffers. On the other hand credible entrepreneurs’ having donebusiness with the Government their invoices were left pending; cycles ofAuthority to Incur Expenditures (AIEs) or Budgets. Perhaps AIE meant atthat time Authority to Insist on Eating. Such acts of impunity cannot happenwhen Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga is the Head of the Arm of Governmentcalled Judiciary.Also Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission, the State Anti-corruption Bodycreated in the Constitution of Kenya that was promulgated on 27thAugust2010 is an Independent Commission and will thoroughly investigate youand recommend for your prosecution. The Director of Public Prosecutionwill dutiful get you a day before a Court System of Kenya. Mark you thereare many Civil Societies fighting corruption such as TransparencyInternational, Kituo Cha Sheria, Muhuri among others.
6In a nutshell I urge you to do business based on value system of integrity.Warren Buffett an American Investor said “there is so much money to bemade within the provisions of the law there is no need to play on theedges”.Do you need some assistance? Feel free to contact me.