April 2, 2021 - 5 minutes read

2nd April 2021 Parliamentary Round Up

By Acha Ouma
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

BILLS

The Health Laws (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 2 of 2021)

By the Leader of the Majority Party

The Bill came up for First Reading. It seeks to make various, wide ranging amendments to various health-related statutes on matters relating to health policy to improve efficiency, service delivery, realization of the Universal Cover Coverage and the Big 4 Agenda, in line with the Constitution, the Health Act, 2017, the Mwongozo Code of Governance for State Corporations and other applicable laws.

MOTION

ALTERATION OF THE 2021 CALENDAR

The House resolved to alter its Calendar (Regular Sessions) for the Fifth Session (2021) so as to –

  • suspend its Sitting of Tuesday (Evening), March 30, 2021;
  • suspend all its ordinary Sittings from Thursday, 1st April, 2021 to Thursday, 29th April, 2021; and,
  • resume its regular sittings on Tuesday, 4th May, 2021 at 2.30p.m.

Consideration of Certain Business Received During the Recess Period

During the period of the April Recess (1st April to May 3rd, 2021) – the House will consider business as follows:

  • Should a Bill be published during the said period, or a published Bill become due for First Reading during the period, the Speaker shall, upon lapse of at least seven days following the publication of the Bill, the fulfillment of the provisions of Article 110(3) of the Constitution and following a determination that such Bill is of priority, forthwith refer the Bill to the relevant Committee for consideration pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 127 (Committal of Bills to Committees and public participation) and upon resumption of the House, cause the Bill to be read a First Time and the Second Reading may be taken forthwith, or on such other day as the House Business Committee may determine;
  •  Should any statutory instrument be transmitted for tabling before the House during the period, the Speaker shall, following a determination that the statutory instrument is of priority, forthwith refer the statutory instrument to the relevant Committee for consideration and cause the statutory instrument to be tabled in the House during its next Sitting in accordance with the provisions of section 11 of the Statutory Instruments Act (No. 3 of 2013);
  • Should any Paper be transmitted for tabling before the House during the period, the Speaker shall, following a determination that the Paper is of priority, forthwith refer the Paper to the relevant Committee for consideration and cause the Paper to be tabled in the House during its next Sitting;
  • Upon the submission of the Report of the relevant Committee on the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 promoted by the Building Bridges Initiative under Article 257 of the Constitution, the Speaker shall forthwith cause the Report to be circulated to all Members (in electronic form) and prioritize Special Sittings of the House convened pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order 29 to consider the said Bill in keeping with the requirements of Article 257 of the Constitution.
  • With respect to all Public Petitions pending before Committees, the counting of the sixty (60) days consideration period prescribed under Standing Order 227(2) (Committal of Petitions) shall cease today and resume when the House next sits in the Fifth Session; and,
  • The Clerk is directed to make necessary arrangements to facilitate virtual meetings of Committees and Members are asked to attend and participate in the virtual meetings of Committees from their offices within Parliament Buildings as envisaged in the Parliamentary Powers & Privileges Act, 2017 and the Speaker’s Guidelines regarding Conduct of Committee Meetings During the COVID-19 Pandemic Period.

The Value Added Tax (Amendment) Regulations, 2020

The House approved the motion and adopted the Report of the Committee on Delegated Legislation on its consideration of the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Regulations laid on the Table of the House on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

The Regulations seek to delete Regulation 9 of the Value Added Tax Regulations, 2019. Regulation 9 stipulates the requirements of issuing a tax invoice when making taxable supplies.

The Value Added Tax (Electronic Tax Invoice) Regulations, 2020

The House approved the motion and adopted the Report of the Committee on Delegated Legislation on its consideration of the Value Added Tax (Electronic Tax Invoice) Regulations, 2020 laid on the Table of the House on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

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.

The Value Added Tax (Digital MarketPlace Supply) Regulations, 2020

The House approved the motion and adopted the Report of the Committee on Delegated Legislation on its consideration of the Value Added Tax (Digital MarketPlace Supply) Regulations, 2020 laid on the Table of the House on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

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.

SENATE

PAPERS LAID

The The following papers were laid at the Table of the House among others:

  1. The First Progress Report of the Standing Committee on Health on the Covid-19 pandemic situation in Kenya. In the report, the Committee canvassed a broad range of issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
  2. Report of Bills and Regulations adopted by EALA at the first meeting of the Fourth Session of the Fourth Assembly of the East African Community (EAC).
  3. Report of the Standing Committee on health on inquiry into allegations regarding irregularities in the procurement of various pharmaceutical equipment and products by the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).

COMMUNICATION FROM THE CHAIR

Status of the Coffee Bill (Senate Bills No.22 Of 2020)

On 24th March, 2021, the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries sought to find out whether the Senate Leadership had accepted to withdraw the Senate Bill in favour of a Coffee Bill drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives. The Coffee Bill (Senate Bills No.22 of 2020), sponsored by the Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, was published on 23rd October, 2020. In compliance with the Constitution, the Speaker sought the concurrence of the Speaker of the National Assembly on 9th November, 2020. In addition, the Speaker also wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly severally reminding him of the various Bills that still await his concurrence, including the Coffee Bill (Senate Bills No. 22 of 2020).

On 15th March, 2021 and 16th March, 2021, the Attorney-General wrote letters to both the Leader of Majority in the Senate and the National Assembly forwarding a draft Coffee Bill, 2021 developed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives for further processing by the Houses of Parliament. Neither the Speaker nor the Senate Business Committee, had approved the withdrawal of the Coffee Bill, 2020 published by the Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries in favour of the Bill developed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives.

The Speaker is also aware that the National Assembly is yet to publish the Bill developed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives. However, the Speaker will continue to actively pursue concurrence of the Speaker of the National Assembly on the Coffee Bill (Senate Bills No. 22 of 2020) and other Senate Bills already published. As an additional measure, the Speaker further directed that the Senate Majority Leader writes to his counterpart in the National Assembly informing the leader of-

  1. The publication of the Coffee Bill (Senate Bills No. 22 of 2020); and
  2. The changes proposed by the Cabinet Secretary (CS), Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives.

MESSAGES FROM THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Passage of the Division of Revenue Bill (National Assembly Bills No.7 of 2021)

The House received a message from the National Assembly in regards to the Division of Revenue Bill (National Assembly Bill No.7 of 2021). The Bill was published vide Kenya Gazette Supplement No.22 of March 8th, 2021 as a Bill proposing to provide for equitable division of revenue raised nationally between the national and county governments as required by Article 218 of the Constitution in order to facilitate the proper functioning of national and county governments and to ensure continuity of county services.  The National Assembly considered the Bill in all stages and passed it on Tuesday 23rd March, 2021, without amendments. The Bill was thus referred to the Senate for consideration.

Passage of the Health (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bills No.64 of 2019

The House received a message from the National Assembly on the passage of the Health (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 64 of 2019). Following the High Court ruling on 29th October, 2020, on Constitutional Petition No. 284 of 2019, implementation of the judgment by the Senate commenced. Notably, the High Court ordered that all Bills for which the concurrence process contemplated under Article 110(3) of the Constitution could not be demonstrated be ceased and that the said concurrence process be adhered to before introduction of such Bills in either House of Parliament. The Health (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 64 of 2019) was one such Bill, for which the concurrence process pursuant to Article 110(3) of the Constitution could not be demonstrated by the time the High Court gave its judgment. As such, the Bill ought to be aligned to Article 110(3) of the Constitution, following which the Bill will be read a First Time in the Senate. In view of the foregoing, the Health (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 64 of 2019) as received from the National Assembly will not be proceeded with in the Senate.

Passage of Various Bills by the National Assembly

The House was informed of the passage of the following Bills by the National Assembly:

  1. The National Youth Council (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bills No.8 of 2019)
  2. The Public Service (Values and Principles) (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bills No.17 of 2019)
  3. The National Assembly of the Cancer Prevention and Control (Amendment) Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 65 of 2019).

BILLS

The Mung Beans Bill (Senate Bills No. 09 of 2020)

The Bill was coming up for a Committee of the whole. The Committee considered and approved the Bill with amendments. The Bill was accordingly read the third time and passed. The principle object of the Bill is to provide for the development, regulation and promotion of the mung bean sector in Kenya. I

Bills that came up for First Reading

  1. The Division of Revenue Bill (National Assembly Bills No. 7 of 2021) – The main objective of the Bill is to provide for the equitable division of revenue raised nationally among the national and county levels of government as required by Article 218 of the Constitution in order to facilitate the proper functioning of county governments and to ensure continuity of county services.
  2. The Investment Promotion (Amendment) Bill (Senate Bills No. 2 of 2021)

MOTIONS

Irregularities in KEMSA

The House was given notice to adopt the Report of the Standing Committee on Health on inquiry into allegations regarding irregularities in the procurement of various pharmaceutical equipment and products by the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA), laid on the Table of the Senate on Tuesday, 30th March, 2021.

First Progress Report no Covid-19 Pandemic

The House was given notice to adopt the Report of the Standing Committee on Health on the First Progress Report on the COVID-19 pandemic situation in Kenya laid on the Table of the Senate on Tuesday, 30th March, 2021.

Alteration of the Senate Calendar for the Fifth Session

The House resolved to alter the Senate Calendar (Regular Sessions of the Senate), so as to adjourn on Tuesday, 30th March, 2021 and to resume sittings on Tuesday, 11th May, 2021.

STATEMENTS

The following statements were sought on the floor of the House:

  1. Sen. Omanga sought a Statement from the Standing Committee on Roads and Transportation on the alleged misuse of funds by KeNHA, KERRA and KURA.
  2. Sen. Omanga sought a Statement from the Standing Committee on Finance and Budget on measures to cushion Kenyans from effects of COVID-19.
  3. Sen. Olekina made a Statement regarding the COVID-19 pandemic situation that is currently ravaging this country.
  4. Sen. Kang’ata sought a Statement from the Standing Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industrialisation regarding the alleged procurement irregularities in the award of tenders for pre-export verification of conformity by Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).
  5. Sen. Cherargei sought a Statement from the Standing Committee on Health on the roll out of COVID-19 vaccine Astra Zeneca and vaccination campaign in Kenya.
  6. Sen. Mutula Kilonzo Jnr sought a Statement on the sharp rise of fuel prices imposed by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA).
  7. Sen. Mutula Kilonzo Jnr sought a Statement on the status of the three loans granted by the Export Import Bank of China to the Government of Kenya through National Treasury to finance the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
  8. Sen. Were sought a Statement from the Standing Committee on Health regarding the authorization of the use of the Russian Manufactured Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine in Kenya.
  9. Sen. Chebeni sought a Statement from the Standing Committee on Lands, Environment and Natural Resources regarding the forest blaze triggered by the British Army Troops at their training base at Nyati Barracks, Laikipia County that occurred on Thursday, 25 March, 2021.

ADJOURNMENT

The Senate stands adjourned until Tuesday, 11th May, 2021, at 10.00 a.m. 

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