Kenyan retailers and suppliers have signed a code of practice on what will see the country’s retail sector apply self-regulation in a bid to curtail late payment.
The East African nation’s State Department for Trade recently mediated the signing of the deal, known as the Harmonised Retail Trade Code of Practice. The Trade Ministry said the agreement will go a long way in fostering trust and promoting sanity in the important retail trade sector.
Kenya’s retail trade sector includes several supermarket chains and their suppliers, among other private and public sector stakeholders. The industry has been steadily expanding despite a few hurdles in recent years. This has been thanks to an expanding middle class that has a high purchasing power, and a conducive macro-economic environment.
The signing comes at a time when delayed payments have been an issue of contention among suppliers and have led to the collapse of several retail chains and supermarkets.
“We look forward to encouraging our members to abide by the Retail Sector Code of practice for organised and responsible retail trade,” said Wambui Mbarire, CEO of the Retail Trade Association of Kenya, the industry’s representative body.
Following the agreement, Kenya’s Principal Secretary (PS) for Trade Dr. Chris Kiptoo, underscored the importance of training staff on negotiation skills to derive maximum benefits from trade talks.
He commended the British government, one of Kenya’s biggest trade partners, for supporting trade facilitation in the region.
“Code of practice alone without regulations is not enough to streamline the Retail Sector. Good faith is necessary for the implementation of the same,” the PS commented in regard to the agreement.
Dr. Kiptoo is optimistic that in the next few weeks, Africa will surpass the minimum threshold required to operationalize the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA), a planned free trade area that seeks to further unify 49 of the 55 African Union (AU) nations.
He commended African Heads of State for supporting free trade in the continent.
The PS also assured investors, consumers and the business community that Kenya remained a safe country to conduct business. He was referring to a recent terror attack that rocked the country’s capital just days ago.
He commended security and emergency response personnel for their quick action following the attack.
“A new dawn beckons Kenya’s retail sector as suppliers and retailers agree to sign a harmonized code of practice. Both parties have agreed to deal with each other fairly and lawfully,” the Trade Ministry concluded in a statement issued this week.