Trade Department automates services to enhance efficiency and boost revenue
With its unique geographical location, Mombasa County requires a robust trade and investment portfolio to spread the economic benefits that come with this strategic position.
One of the key pillars that the County has put up is the department of Trade, Investment, Energy and Industry as an interface between investors (both SMEs and major investors) providing an enabling environment for trade and investment.
The department serves the following purposes:
- Trade promotion
• Industrial development and manufacturing.
• Development of Small and medium enterprises
• Renewable energy generation
• Energy regulation and reticulation
• Cooperative societies
• County market development and management.
• Electricity and gas reticulation
• Administration of Trade licensing and levies.
• Single Business Permits
• Weights and measures, standardization
In its effort to improve efficiency in facilitating trade, increasing revenue collection and general ease of doing business as a catalyst for development, the department can proudly enumerate some of the achievements that have put Mombasa County on the pedestal of socioeconomic growth.
One of the biggest challenges that the County grappled with was the time and cumbersome process it took previously to obtain the relevant documents for one to operate a business.
This has now been fully addressed through the automation of Single Business Permit, parking and barriers revenue collection which cut operational costs to businessmen and improves efficiency in revenue collection.
The effects of this intervention have been increased in revenue collection with the County recording an increase of 30% reducing the time one takes to get permit from three days to only 15 minutes.
Chief Officer for Trade, Investment, Energy and Industry Mr Abdulwahab Mbarak says that by reducing human interaction in the process has greatly reduced incidences of corruption hence the growth of revenue.
“We have established a County trade portal where all the information relating to the process and investment opportunities is readily available especially to our international investors thus making it easier for them to make informed decisions on their investments.
“The department boasts of reliable information generated through a rigorous research on all the opportunities that the County has to offer,” adds Mr Mbarak.
The County’s trade department recognises the need for conducive environment upon which traders can operate and thrive. This led to the installation of security lights at Kongowea market which boost security for traders and promotes the 24 –hour business opportunity to them. Additionally, it has rehabilitated the retail section at Kongowea market thus improving business environment for traders and enhancing cleanliness.
With the youth in mind, we have endeavoured to provide facilities to encourage trade among the young people. This has been realised through installation of modern kiosks which have opened self-employment opportunities for youth, women and people with disability.
As part of incentives to this group, Mr Mbarak said the charges for the various fees charged by the County Government have been reduced by up to 40%.
“The department of Trade has also introduced a revolving fund that has already benefitted over 7,000 youths, women and persons with disabilities both as start up capital or for expanding their existing enterprises,” he said.
In promoting investment in Mombasa with various foreign government and various chamber of commerce offices, a number of initiatives have been put in place such as infrastructure development.
Among them include tarmacking of Biashara Street in town which created an effective transport system for businessmen and customers using that road.
The County has also undertaken the modernization of retail markets and Installation of modern stalls which has created an enabling environment for businessmen and customers.
Going forward, Mr Mbarak says, the department is planning to automate all the processes to enhance the investment environment so as to realise the County vision of turning Mombasa into a Smart City.