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Kenya has established a special tribunal to help entrepreneurs in small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to solve their disputes. The Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA) CEO Patrick Mwangi said the committee will solve all conflicting issues arising from the breach of contracts, property disputes or foiled transactions.

“We are in the process of establishing a special tribunal. The tribunal will handle all disputes within the MSE sector,” Mwangi told a forum of SME representatives late Tuesday in Nakuru, about 180km northwest of Nairobi.

“This will be one step forward towards removing any blocks that drag behind developments towards making this sector a wealthy and lucrative venture,” he added.

Mwangi, who was addressing the SMEs representatives from the 18 counties from the across the country, said that lack of permanent structures for operations of the informal traders is one of the main challenges that have hindered efforts to expand their business.

To solve the problem, he said the authority will be creating a Communication Strategic Plan aimed at prevailing upon the county leadership to recognize the contribution of the MSE sector in their economies and hence create conducive environment for their investments.“Our plea will be that they promote a good working environment for the SMEs in the country. One way will be establishing permanent structures for them in strategic areas where they are able attract customers,” noted Mwangi.

He said that the SMEs sector creates over 80 percent of the total new jobs created annually in the East African state and there was need to boost its development to attract more local and international investors.

Regarding production of high quality and marketable products in the East African Community’s trading bloc as well as international market, Mwangi said the authority will support initiatives intended at promoting value addition across the country.

“We are looking forward to identifying the various value addition projects in all parts across the 47 counties. Apart from creating jobs which will be reducing level of unemployment, we will be boosting the level of productivity in the sector. Eventually make it one of the most lucrative ventures in the country,” said Mwangi.

The SME sector forms part of the Economic Pillar in Kenya’s Vision 2030, which foresees the creation of a sustainable middle- level Kenyan economy by the year 2030.

According to the Economic Survey 2013, the sector employs over 600,000 people annually.

Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Association CEO Richard Muteti identified inaccessibility of credit facilities to the informal traders in the East African country as a critical input that has hampered them from diversifying their businesses.

To solve this, Muteti, who is also the Director of the Small and Medium Enterprise Support, East Africa (SMES-EA), called on the Kenyan government to come up with policies that would enable them access capital assistance without stiffening obstacles.

“The MSE sector is extremely crucial in the development of every country’s economy across the globe. Importantly, in Kenya it contributes above 88 percent of all the new employment opportunities created annually,” said Muteti.

Kenya National Alliance of Street Vendors and Informal Traders (KENAVIST) Chairperson Simon Ole Nasieku said they will be pushing for the establishment of all permanent structures for the operations of the SMEs within the proximity of the busy central business districts across the East African state.

By Robert Manyara #Xinhua

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The Micro and Small Enterprise Authority (MSEA) is a new state corporation established under the Micro and Small Enterprise Act No. 55 of 2012. The Act was developed through a stakeholder’s consultation process which took several years. The Authority is now domiciled in the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development.

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