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Parliamentary round up (A review of National Assembly and Senate for Year 2021)

Key House highlights of the Year

In 2021, the National Assembly and the Senate considered various businesses. As the year ends, here is a summary of some of the important businesses handled by the two Houses:

  1. The National Assembly adopted the Report of the Committee on Delegated Legislation and approved the following:
  • The Value Added Tax (Amendment of The Rate of Tax) Order, 2020 – Published as Legal Notice No. 206 of 2020, the main purpose of the Order is to fulfill the revenue shortfalls. It amends the Value Added Tax Order by revising it upwards from 14% to 16%.
  • Value Added Tax (Amendment) Regulations, 2020 – The Regulations seek to delete Regulation 9 of the Value Added Tax Regulations, 2019.
  • Value Added Tax (Electronic Tax Invoice) Regulations, 2020 – The Regulations provide a legal framework to govern the use of Electronic Tax Registers in accordance with Section 43(4) of the Value Added Tax Act (No. 23 of 2013) in order to provide for the interpretation, scope of application, use of the register, tax invoices and transmissions thereof, obligations of the user and creates offences for non-compliance and contravention.
  • Value Added Tax (Digital Marketplace Supply) Regulations, 2020 – The Regulations seek to facilitate the implementation of VAT on supplies of services made in Kenya through a digital marketplace by non-resident suppliers who have no physical presence in the country.
  • Legal Notice No. 27 of 2021 on the Exemption from Income Tax for Airlines with Government of Kenya Shareholding of at least 45% and its subsidiaries – The Notice seeks to exempt an airline in which the Government of Kenya owns at least 45% of its shares in particular the Kenya Airways Ltd and its subsidiaries, Kenya Airfreight Handling Limited, Jambojet Limited, African cargo Handling Limited, Kencargo Airlines International Limited and Fahari Aviation Limited (Pride Oil Limited). 
  1. Processing of the Budget Policy Statement for FY2021/22
  • Both Houses were briefed on the importance of the Budget Policy Statement (BPS) in February, 2021. The BPS sets out the broad strategic priorities and policy goals that will guide the national and county governments in preparing their budgets both for the following financial year and over the medium term. The Committees on Finance and Budget held various consultations with relevant stakeholders and provided Reports on the same.
  1. The Senate held a Special Sitting in May to consider the report of the Special Committee established to investigate the proposed removal from office, by impeachment, of the Hon. Mohammed Abdi Mohamud, the Governor of Wajir County, resolved to remove him from office by impeachment.
  2. The Speaker of the National Assembly provided guidance on the Draft Elections Campaign Financing Regulations by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries. The Regulations are expected to provide for the Spending Limits for different elections, guidelines for the expenditure rules for political parties and independent candidates and the manner in which contributions may be made.
Building Bridges Initiative

The Building Bridges Initiative Steering Committee, delivered a draft Bill to amend the Constitution by popular initiative and signatures of persons in support of the initiative to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for verification. Consequently, the IEBC submitted the draft Bill to the (47) County Assemblies for consideration after verification of the signatures in support of the initiative. 

The Constitution affords the respective County Assemblies a period of three months after receipt of a draft Bill to amend the Constitution by popular initiative within which to approve the Bill. Thereafter, the respective Speakers of the County Assemblies are required to communicate the resolution of the approval by the respective assemblies by delivering a copy of the draft Bill jointly to the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament, with a certificate indicating such approval.

During the Punguza Mizigo (Constitution Amendment) Bill, the Speaker of the National Assembly and Speaker of the Senate jointly developed standard Guidelines for Delivery by the County Assemblies to the Speakers of the two Houses of Parliament of a draft Bill for the amendment of the Constitution by Popular Initiative. The threshold required under Article 257(7) of the Constitution for introduction of the Bill in Parliament and attendant requirements in the Guidelines were met.

Laws of the Year 

The following Bills were assented to by President Kenyatta after they were passed by Parliament.

  1. The Business Laws (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 50 of 2020) – The Bill sought to make various amendments to various statutes to facilitate the ease of doing business in Kenya. The statutes include:
  • The Law of Contract Act (Cap. 23) – Harmonized with the Companies Act, 2015 by eliminating the requirement of a company seal in execution of documents for companies.
  • The Industrial Training Act (Cap. 237) – Remittance of the Training Levy to be at the end of a business financial year but not later than the 9th day of the month following the end of the financial year.
  • The National Hospital Insurance Fund Act, 1998 (No. 9 of 1998) – the NHIF remittance will be on the ninth day of the month and not on the first day of the month. 
  • The National Social Security Fund Act, 2013 (No. 45 of 2013) – employers have to pay the mandatory contributions to the fund on the 9th day of each month.
  • The Companies Act, 2015 (No. 17 of 2015) – Eliminated the use of a company seal in operations of companies incorporated under the Companies Act and facilitated companies to hold meetings either through hybrid or virtual setting.
  •  The Insolvency Act, 2015 (No. 18 of 2015) – An administrator can now distribute routine payment to unsecured creditors without courts permission.
  •  The Small Claims Court Act, 2016 (No. 2 of 2016) – swift settlement of small claims by requiring that they be adjudicated upon within 60 days from the date the claim is filed.
  • Stamp Duty Act Cap 480 – exempted payments of a fixed Kshs100 duty charged on contracts chargeable as conveyances on sale.
  1. The Employment (Amendment) Bill, 2019 – The Bill sought to amend the Employment Act, 2007 in order to afford pre-adoptive leave to parents who apply for the adoption of children.
  2. The Refugees Bill, 2019 – The Bill provided for the recognition, protection and management of refugees.
  3. The Law of Succession (Amendment) Bill, 2019 – The Bill sought to provide clarity on who a dependant of a deceased person is.
  4. The Division of Revenue Bill, 2021 – Provided for the equitable division of revenue raised nationally among the national and county levels of government as required by Article 218 of the Constitution.
  5. The Foreign Service Bill, 2021 – Provided for the establishment, management, administration, accountability and functioning of a professional foreign service of the Republic of Kenya.
  6. The Finance Bill, 2021 – formulated the proposals announced in the Budget 2021/2022 relating to liability to and collection of taxes.
  7. The Appropriation Bill, 2021 – provided for appropriation of monies for the 2021/2022 financial year.
  8. The Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2021 – made provision for giving statutory sanction for public expenditure for the year ending on the 30th June, 2021. 
  9. The County Allocation of Revenue Bill, 2021 – made provision for the allocation of revenue raised nationally among the county governments for the FY 2021/22.
  10. The Central Bank of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2021 – amended the Central Bank of Kenya Act to provide for licensing of digital credit service providers.
  11. The Tax Appeals Tribunal (Amendment) Bill, 2021 – amends the Tax Appeals Tribunal Act, 2013 to address the challenges affecting the performance of the Tax Appeals Tribunal to facilitate the expedition of tax disputes in the country.
  12. The Trustees (Perpetual Succession) (Amendment) Bill, 2021 – enables the accumulation of generational wealth for the benefit of multiple generations.
  13. The Public Private Partnership Bill, 2021 – Provided a legal framework to cover both national and county level PPP projects.
  14. The Kenya Deposit Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2020 – increased the maximum amount a person with an account in an institution under liquidation is to be paid by the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Houses on Recess

Although the two Houses are currently on a long recess, the National Assembly will hold a special sitting on Tuesday, December 21, 2021 and Wednesday, December 22, 2021 for the following purposes:

  1. Tabling of reports and notification of motions on:
  • Vetting of a nominee for appointment as chairperson of the Public Service Commission
  • Vetting of nominees for appointment as members of NGEC Kenya
  1. Transaction of the following business:
  • First Reading of the Huduma Bill (NA Bill No. 57 of 2021)
  • Approval of nominees for appointment as members of NGEC Kenya
  • Voting on motion for agreement with the Report of the Committee of the Whole house and 3rd reading of the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute Bill (NA Bill No. 44 of 2020)
  • Voting on motion for 2nd reading of the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill (NA Bill No. 39 of 2021)
  • Consideration of Senate’s Amendments to the National Hospital Insurance Fund (Amendment) Bill (NA Bill No. 21 of 2021)
  • Second Reading of the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill (NA Bill No. 56 of 2021) and
  • Consideration in Committee of the Whole House and Third Reading of the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill (NA Bill No. 39 of 2021) and the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill (NA Bill No. 56 of 2021) (Subject to there being time for filing of proposed amendments by Members). 

Upon resumption from the long recess, according to the Standing Orders and practices of the Houses, businesses that were not concluded at the end of the last Session, such as Motions as well as Questions and Statements which had not been responded to, lapsed. However, the Chairperson of a Committee or individual member may reintroduce such business to the House.  

Notices issued:

The Clerk of the National Assembly has also invited members of the public to submit views on the following bills:

  1. The Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (National Assembly Bill No. 40 of 2021)
  2. The Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (National Assembly Bill No. 47 of 2021)
  3. The Whistleblower Protection Bill 2021 (National Assembly Bill No. 50 of 2021)
  4. The Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2021 (National Assembly Bill No. 44 of 2021)

The memoranda may be emailed to clerk@parliament.go.ke to be received on or before Tuesday, 28th December 2021 at 5pm.

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