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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 210
29 October - 4 November, 2018

Editorial

Parliament should be quick in debating people’s welfare than approving privatization of public institutions

Economics and all clever arguments aside, privatization in simple language is interpreted to mean incompetence! When a government opts to privatize institutions and their services; what they’re really saying is that they’re incapable of running the said institution efficiently and are thus handing it over to the private sector.

In that regard the Jubilee government has approved a number of public institutions they intend to give up to the private sector. Among them includes: Kenya’s leading electric power generating company, KenGen, the country’s largest dairy processor, New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) – which happens to be the biggest and oldest dairy processor in East and Central Africa and five sugar factories among other public institutions already earmarked for privatization.

The Executive arm of government already got approval to sell the stakes in the five sugar millers from Parliament in 2014. The House Committee on Finance, Trade and Planning while recommending Parliament approves the sale also noted that it is the only way the industry can becoming competitive and that the COMESA safeguards were coming to an end in February 2015.

It’s hard to understand how MPs easily agreed to privatize these millers without a rigorous debate. Actually, since Agriculture is a devolved function and these sales are likely to hurt counties, one expected the Senators from the counties affected to at least help the steer the debate in a manner that is likely to clear the suspicion and any expected underhand deals but no, they’re all happy with the deal. Only the Governors have attempted to get the Executive to come out clear on its intentions.

In a country like ours where people see opportunities in crisis and make incredulous profit at a time when majority are suffering, our Parliament should be more keen going by the historical evidence that privatization has always led to a public rip-off more often than not. More so, where it is an institution under receivership and the new owners want the government settle all the bills like is the case with the sugar companies about to be privatized.

The danger our lawmakers failed to observe or did observe but didn’t think much about is the common case of using taxpayer’s money in the name of clearing debt and transferring ownership only for the company to fail to pick and then the public is asked to save it from collapsing due to poor management. This we have seen with Kenya Airways (although it ran profits for some time; yet the current debt far outweighs any profits made in the past). Mumias Sugar is also another case in point; although the government runs the majority shares.

News of the Week

President Uhuru Slams Mt.Kenya MPs; tells them to focus on their promises to people

President Uhuru hit out at MPs from his Mt. Kenya region for playing 2022 politics at the expense of the mandate they were given by their constituents. He warned those who thought he was a lame duck and suggested they work with him to revive the coffee sector in the region instead of "loitering" around discussing succession politics. 
 

MPs shocked IEBC bought sim cards at three times the market price

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) was at pains to explain how they bought phone sim cards at Sh173 instead of the regular Sh50. MPs in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) expressed their surprise demanding to know what was special about the sim cards. The electoral agency's head of procurement is putting the blame squarely on the former CEO saying he ordered direct purchase of the sim cards.

The embattled commission is also fighting to keep PAC from accessing copies of the plenary minutes and discussing their contents in public. The Chairman, Chebukati, insisted they had nothing to hide but would prefer the sessions be held in camera for purposes of confidentiality. The committee ruled they furnish the documents and they will decide what the media can access.

MP wants to cap interest rates charged by micro finance

Kesses MP Swarup Mishra, has given notice to draft a Bill that will bring micro finance or other money lending set-up platforms, under the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) rules. This is in a bid to get them charge fair interest rates. The National Assembly has confirmed the notice to draft Bill. Following the capping of commercial bank lending rates; the micro-finance and other money lending platforms have gained big time, charging interest as high as 18% and above. The MP says the Bill will protect Kenyans who are exploited by the unregulated micro-finance institutions.

Quote of the Week

"Nzoia Sugar alone can supply sugar to the whole of this country. We have now more than 10 millers [sic]. The irony of it is that, it is our own internal wars, our own selfish interests, which we have decided we're going to set aside."

Quote by Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri when announcing the formation of a 16 member sugar task force to review existing sugar policies and evaluate the competitiveness of the local sugar industry in the region and issue a report in 30days. The CS said this on November 7, 2018

Lest we forget

"The sugar sub-sector...is truly troubled. Some of the reasons for the trouble are well known. Indiscriminate importation of cheap sugar from within COMESA region...is a major factor for the challenges facing this sub-sector."

Sentiments by Hon. Ababu Namwamba when debating the motion on adoption of report on public sector owned/controlled sugar companies on February 26, 2015.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Deputy President William Ruto made headlines this week after hosting the President and his political arch-rival Raila Odinga in his Karen House. The details of the meeting remain scanty even as the three appeared to be in a jovial mood. The DP further surprised the country when he visited the oppositon leader stronghold in Nyanza and was hosted by the embattled Migori Governor, Okoth Obado. 

... PROFILE

Bills before the National Assembly

First Reading
Second Reading
THE PARLIAMENTARY SERVICE BILL
- NO. 06 OF 2018
Sponsored by The Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs Hon. William Kipkorir
THE KENYA ACCREDITATION SERVICE BILL
- NO. 17 OF 2018
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Hon. Aden Duale
THE SACCO SOCIETIES (AMENDMENT) BILL 
- NO. 01 OF 2018
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Hon. Aden Duale
THE COUNTY GOVERNMENTS (AMENDMENT)(No.2) BILL
- NO. 07 OF 2017
Sponsored by the Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security Hon. Paul Koinange
THE NATIONAL FLAGS, EMBLEMS AND NAMES (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 08 OF 2017 (SENATE BILL)
Sponsored by the Chairperson, Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security Hon. Paul Koinange
THE STATUTE LAW (MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS) (No.2) BILL 
- NO. 13 OF 2018
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Hon. Aden Duale
THE COUNTY PENSION SCHEME BILL
- NO. 49 OF 2017
Sponsored by Hon. Muriuki Njagagua
THE COUNTY GOVERNMENTS (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 11 OF 2017 (SENATE BILL)
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Hon. Aden Duale
Third Reading: Committee of the Whole House
The Urban Areas and Cities (Amendment) Bill
- NO. 04 OF 2017 (SENATE BILL)
Sponsored by the Leader of Majority Party Hon. Aden Duale

Bills before the Senate

Second Reading
THE COUNTY OUTDOOR ADVERTISING CONTROL BILL
- NO. 19 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. Samuel Poghisio
THE DATA PROTECTION BILL
- NO. 16 OF 2018
Sponsored by Chairperson, Standing Committee on Information and Technology Sen. Gideon Moi
THE COUNTY PLANNING (ROADS, PAVEMENTS AND PARKING BAYS) BILL
- NO. 18 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. Ledama Olekina
THE COPYRIGHT (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 33 OF 2017
Sponsored by the Senate Leader of Majority Sen. Kipchumba Murkomen
THE PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 52 OF 2017 (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL)
Sponsored by the Senate Leader of Majority Sen. Kipchumba Murkomen
THE LAND VALUE INDEX LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 03 OF 2018 (NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BILL)
Sponsored by the Senate Leader of Majority Sen. Kipchumba Murkomen
THE COUNTY STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS BILL
- NO. 21 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. Samuel Poghisio
THE TREATY MAKING AND RATIFICATION (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 23 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. Fatuma Dullo
THE STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 24 OF 2018
Sponsored by the Chairperson, Sessional Committee on Delegated Legislation Sen. Samuel Poghisio
THE COUNTY COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT BILL
- NO. 25 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. George Khaniri
THE COUNTY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION BILL
- NO. 07 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Chairperson, Standing Committee on Education Sen. (Dr.) Langat Christopher Andrew
THE PRESERVATION OF HUMAN DIGNITY AND ENFORCEMENT OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RIGHTS BILL
- NO. 27 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. Abshiro Halake
Third Reading: Committee of the Whole House
THE FOOD SECURITY BILL
- NO. 12 OF 2017
Sponsored by the Senate Leader of Majority Sen. Kipchumba Murkomen
THE COUNTY STATISTICS BILL 
- NO. 09 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. (CPA) Farhiya Ali Haji
THE SALARIES AND REMUNERATION COMMISSION (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 12 OF 2018
Sponsored by the Chairperson, Standing Committee on Finance and Budget Sen. Mohamed Mahamud
THE COUNTY GOVERNMENTS RETIREMENT SCHEME BILL
- NO. 06 OF 2018
Sponsored by Chairperson, Standing Committee on Labour and Social Welfare Sen. Johnson Sakaja
THE RETIREMENT BENEFITS (DEPUTY PRESIDENT AND DESIGNATED STATE OFFICERS) (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 02 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. Ledama Olekina
THE COUNTY GOVERNMENTS (AMENDMENT) BILL
- NO. 13 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. Aaron Cheruiyot
THE CARE AND PROTECTION OF OLDER MEMBERS OF SOCIETY BILL
- NO. 17 OF 2018
Sponsored by Sen. Aaron Cheruiyot
THE IRRIGATION BILL
- NO. 07 OF 2015
Sponsored by the Senate Leader of Majority Sen. Kipchumba Murkomen

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