There is no doubt that corruption inherently inhibits developmental growth. Despite Kenya’s economic vibrance, the corruption experienced across all sectors continues to be a great inhibitor to efficient business operations.
Open Governance Partnerships (OGP) are multilateral initiatives that aim to secure concrete commitments from national and subnational governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.
Dr. Korir Sing’oei, co-lead of the Open Government Partnership discussed the current efforts underway by the Government and its international development partners to address corruption, transparency and an inclusive governmental framework in creating sustainable growth. He shared his remarks with Business Journalists across the country during the monthly Business Journalism Public Policy dialogues hosted by Strathmore Business School’s Center for Business Journalism and the Business Advocacy Fund.
State owned Industrial and Commercial Development Cooperations (ICDCs) are put in place with the mandate to open the economy by promoting projects that create wealth and jobs for Kenyans. “More than a tenth of the largest firms in the world are state owned. The economic success of a country is heavily pegged on the success of state owned corporations. In this light, a task force was established in 2013 to realise the catalytic role of the cooperations. The task force was mandated with the duties of promoting and accelerating growth initiatives in line with vision 2030, improve public delivery and build regional and international partnerships,” said Dr. Korir.
However, ICDCs wage bills have been significant in raising recurrent expenditures, which continue to account for huge budgetary allocations. To improve efficiency and keep wage bills at check, state owned cooperation’s underwent some downsizing from 262 firms to 187. “We realised that there were a lot of redundancies in the sector and like any capital economy, we put some of the firms through mergers. This ensured that the firms in existence function efficiently.”
Although Kenya is a signatory of OGP, corruption cases in public procurement amidst other entities continue to be flourishing grounds for malpractice. Dr. Korir in response to this, explained that the cooperations are currently under the guidance of a parliamentary bill which considers the formation of the firm and lays out procedures and board governance entry qualifications. This, in his response is in bid to ensure that the candidates who bid and qualify for such positions are on merit. This has also been intensified through the Mwongozo platform, which provides guidelines on corporate governance. “Action plans developed under the OGP have called for open policies into the extractives sector and beneficial ownership from the public.”The impact of OGP has been significantly witnessed through improving the ease of doing business, in which Kenya continues to rise through the ranks.