How CS Kuria plans to increase foreign investments in Kenya by reviewing Companies Act

Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria on Monday said he will soon table an amendment in the cabinet to reverse the regulation clause under the Companies Act 2015, requiring all foreign investments in Kenya to be 30 percent locally owned.

As currently constituted under the Companies Act 2015, the law requires that foreign companies registering in Kenya cede at least 30 percent of their shareholding to persons who are Kenyan citizens by birth.

Investors who fail to comply with this rule are fined KES 5 million.

However, the law does not apply to existing companies already registered in Kenya. The law also empowers the Treasury Cabinet secretary to issue regulations on how foreign companies will operate in Kenya.

This is the policy Kuria is now opposed to, which he says has to be changed to enable more Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in the country.

Speaking on Monday at the launch of Showfa, a new taxi ride-hailing service in Nairobi, Kuria said he has a lot of investors who’d love to bring investments in the country but are barred by the law he described as punitive and redundant.

“We have got this issue of Space X, which Elon Musk has always wanted to set up in Kenya. But Mr. Simiyu wants to say mimi ndio partner wa Elon Musk hapa Kenya, mnanijua? No that will not happen, let us not lie to ourselves. In this regard I am going to take this amendment to the cabinet to remove this regulation so that companies can use this country to base their operations in Africa and beyond,” Kuria said.

Prior to this law coming to effect on June 15, 2016, the repealed law allowed Kenyans to be directors of foreign firms that sought to set up shops in Kenya.

Kuria said that these are among the laws that need to be changed if they are not serving the interests of Kenyans.

He said he seeks to raise the current FDI portfolio to $10 billion and review the regulation to pave way for more investments.

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