The Public Benefit Organizations (PBO) Act, enacted in 2013 but stalled for over a decade, will officially come into force on Tuesday.

This long-anticipated legislation establishes a transparent and predictable framework for the registration and regulation of civil society entities within Kenya.

The Act, whose implementation was delayed for 11 years, seeks to streamline the registration process for Public Benefit Organizations (PBOs), reducing the likelihood of arbitrary administrative decisions.

By closing loopholes for arbitrariness, the Act aims to create a more equitable environment for civil society entities. Additionally, it offers significant tax and other benefits to registered PBOs, further encouraging their formal establishment and operation.

An official gazette notice issued by the Interior Cabinet Secretary, Kithure Kindiki, confirmed the commencement date.

The notice read, “IN EXERCISE of the powers conferred by section 1 of the Public Benefits Organizations Act, 2013, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Administration appoints the 14th May, 2024 as the date on which the Act shall come into operation. Dated the 9th May, 2024,” signed by Kithure Kindiki.

The implementation of the PBO Act is seen as a milestone in promoting an inclusive, participatory, and open society in Kenya.

Proponents argue that it strengthens the nation's democratic credentials and underscores its commitment to transparent governance.

The Act's enforcement aligns with the Kenya Kwanza Administration's pre-election promises to enhance inclusive and participatory governance, ensure accountability, and embrace diverse viewpoints, including critical ones.

As Kenya prepares to operationalize this landmark legislation, the civil society sector is poised to benefit from a more structured and supportive regulatory environment, fostering growth and enhancing its contribution to the country's democratic and developmental goals.