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Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 248
12th Aug - 16th Aug 2019

Editorial

Stalemate on Revenue Bill will only hurt Kenyans

The current show of might between the National Assembly and the Senate is escalating to unpleasant heights and the casualty of this is not only devolution but the people of Kenya. We’re about to hit two months since the 2019/2020 financial year began yet there’s no sign of the stalemate on the Division of Revenue Bill ending soon. The second round of mediation hasn’t been promising either given the hardline positions being held by members from both Houses during their first meeting.

With a financial crisis looming, counties are waiting with bated breath to see how the mediation talks slated for this week will pan out as some are already dealing with the headache of staff strikes who are demanding for their July dues. The Council of Governors who sought the intervention of the President earlier this month hit a wall as he insisted that the government lacks sufficient funds to meet their demands. These sentiments were shared by the team from National Assembly who challenged the Senate to prove how they would acquire the additional Ksh 18.5 billion they proposed. The result was an exchange between the two sides over several issues including the supplementary budget that Senators poked holes into, forcing the chair of the mediation, Senator Mahamud to adjourn the meeting.

Kenyans now have every reason to worry because chances are that once the census is concluded we will wake up to the surprise of counties coming to a standstill over lack of funds. Interestingly, the Auditor General has faulted the National Assembly for using revenue figures from his office dating three years back to distribute funds to counties, despite the most recent audited revenue from his office dating back to June 30th 2018. 

News of the Week

Looming strike over DoR

Aggrieved county workers now vow to disrupt normal operations by staging pay-parades and go-slows until their dues are fully paid. This is a result of the stand-off between the National Assembly and Senate over the Division of Revenue Bill. Counties say they don’t have money to pay salaries as they have not received allocations from the Exchequer because of the stalemate on how much they should get from Treasury.

                                                                                                      

Kieni constituency to get medical upgrade

Kieni MP Kanini Kega has secured Sh 30 million from the Ministry of Health for the construction of a 2nd level-four hospital in the constituency. He says the hospital will be built on a 10-acre piece of land in Kiawara to ease congestion at the Nyeri County Referral Hospital. This will in turn spare patients in the area more than 50km trip to access medical services in public facilities.

Parliament clerk supports eviction of Kwale women rep

The Clerk of the National Assembly Michael Sialai says lactating MPs will not be allowed to do so in the debating chamber and must abide by the rules of the House. This comes after Kwale Woman Representative Zuleika Hassan was asked to leave the debating chamber after coming in with her baby. According to the Clerk, the Speaker is obligated by the House Standing Orders to order an MP who is disorderly to leave the chamber. The Clerk says the PSC has provided facilities for lactating MPs and baby care in Parliament premises.

Taxman sets eyes on digital taxi-hailing firms

A report by KRA to the Senate Committee on Labour and Social Welfare claims that digital taxi-hailing firms such as UBER and Bolt, and partner drivers are facing a huge tax demand from KRA in an ongoing audit of their income. More than a dozen digital taxi-hailing operators in the country are under tax audit for VAT on the apps they “supply” to drivers as well as commissions paid to them from customer rides. The taxman claims that drivers have also not been paying up taxes on their earnings, and is now targeting tens of millions of shillings from the industry.

Intersex people to be recognized in new law

Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura is sponsoring a Bill that seeks to amend the Registration of Persons Act to include Intersex persons. He says the Bill will ensure that the registration of such intersex person reflects their unique gender. Under the Registration of Persons (Amendment) Bill, an intersex person who medically transforms to either male or female will be required to within six months register the sex change but surrender previous identity card.

Corrupt counties to be denied funds in new law

The Public Finance Management (Bill) 2019 sponsored by Senator Agnes Zani will see counties that do not account for their local revenues denies their equitable share from the National Treasury, if passed into law. The Public Finance Management (Bill) 2019 sponsored by Senator Agnes Zani will see counties that do not account for their local revenues denies their equitable share from the National Treasury, if passed into law. The Bill amends the Public Finance Management Act by introducing new sections to compel county governments to develop and roll out revenue collection systems.
County treasuries shall then be required to submit bi-annual and annual reports to the county assemblies, the Senate, the National Treasury and CRA on the status of the revenue collection and performance.

Senate puts a cap on county expenditure on construction

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts and Investment tabled a report that set limits for expenditure in the construction of residences of governors, their deputies and county assembly speakers. Governors’ residences are pegged at Sh 45 million while their deputies limit Sh 35 million, the same as that of assembly speakers. The size of the land where the houses sit should not exceed 2 acres.
The report further states that counties shouldn’t spend more than Sh 500 million to construct offices for the executive.

Quote of the Week

"Our focus should be on our people's needs, not building residences for governors and their deputies!"

Quote by Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja commenting on the expenditure limits on governors' and deputy governors' residences on August 10th, 2019.

Lest we forget

"As I said in Mombasa, I would like to disclose here that I wrote to His Excellency the President in regard to various legislations including the Miscellaneous (Amendments) Bill which had so many laws apart from this one that concern counties. There is a very growing and dangerous practice that has been there in the National Assembly for a while in relation to ignoring this House in its legislative mandate. It is baffling to even point out that it is one of the many."

Sentiments by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen contributing to the debate on Activities of the Sessional Committee on Delegated Legislation on June 6th 2018. 

Read the Hansard

Bills before the Senate

First Reading

Public Participation

Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs will be undertaking public hearings on the following Bills;
1. The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 19 of 2019)
2. The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 40 of 2019)
3. The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 53 of 2019)

The public hearings shall be conducted in the following counties on the dates scheduled respectively:

1. Nairobi - Mini Chamber, County Hall, Parliament Buildings Thursday, 29th August 2019.
2. Eldoret - TAC Center, Eldoret Town, Thursday, 29th August 2019.
3. Nakuru - Nakuru Old Town Hall, Nakuru Town, Thursday, 29th August 2019.
4. Machakos - Machakos Youth Centre, Machakos Friday, 30th August 2019.
5. Kakamega - Magharibi Hall, Kakamega Town, Friday, 30th August 2019.
6. Nyeri - Nyamachaki PCEA Hall, Nyeri Town, Friday, 30th August 2019.
7. Mombasa - Kenya School of Government, Saturday, 31st August 2019.
8. Kisumu - Tom Mboya Labour College, Kisumu Town, Saturday, 31st August 2019.
9. Meru - Kifaru Hall, Meru Slopes HallSaturday, 31st August 2019.
 

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