Mr Philip Oduor, the Accountant, Regal Pharmaceuticals Ltd, spoke with Commerce & Industry magazine as his employer’s representative; his employer happens to be the current chair of the RUBICOM Association. The company is one of the oldest and strongest members having joined RUBICOM back in 2000. He outlined some of the benefits realized by RUBICOM membership from the different initiatives the Association has undertaken.
Investors in the Ruaraka area have enjoyed peaceful business environment free of criminal activities and massive extortionist activities previously experienced from some government agencies. Through RUBICOM initiatives roads, footpaths and drainage has been improved and are a far cry from what was the case in the past.
“Companies that are members and unified under RUBICOM totally rehabilitated the Baba Dogo Road assisted by the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA). Courtesy of RUBICOM, we have realized the need and usefulness of unity for common good and we now have a voice that reaches out for engagement with government and other partners. As the only association uniting industrialists and business people in Nairobi and perhaps the only viable model in the whole country, we have ably made the Ruaraka area better and safer for business and manufacturing activities,” explained Mr Oduor.
Apart from the improved, and continuously improving, roads other infrastructure such as telephone facilities including for wireless connections have improved greatly. The Association has also addressed power outages that used to be debilitating and persistent in the past by lobbying with Kenya Power to install bigger and more powerful transformers to meet the daily increasing demand for power in the area.
Industry and business engagement with the community has led to construction of better food kiosks leading to improved meals for workers in the factories. “We know each other well as investors in the area and the government is today keen to listen to us. Fundamentally, RUBICOM is here to stay and we are appealing to all businesspeople and industrialists including SMEs and small traders in the area and even beyond to join us,” observed Mr Oduor.
Given the pace and ideals that RUBICOM is taking, Ruaraka has potential to be the safest area with the most uninterrupted business and in a class of its own explained Mr Oduor.
“United as we are, we are able to tackle government especially with regards to refund of VAT,” he added.
“We have faced several challenges though. These include delay by government in meeting their part of the deal despite our good rapport. In recent months, garbage collection and management has been a big challenge after the Nairobi City Council (NCC) failed to honour part of our agreement with them. Youths involved in garbage collection have also tended to engage in malpractices,” Mr Oduor observed.
Other challenges include poor maintenance of street lighting by the NCC leading to insecurity at night and lack of dedication to RUBICOM activities by some CEOs who send junior officers who have no power to make decisions. At other times some members miss meetings and fail to send representatives. The association also at times suffers from lack of funds when some members abscond from honouring their contributions and pledges.