November 27, 2020 - 5 minutes read

27th November 2020 Parliamentary Round Up

By The Vellum Team
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

PAPERS LAID

Report of the Departmental Committee of Finance and National Planning on its inspection visit to the Kenya Revenue Authority offices to ascertain the impact revenue enhancement initiative on revenue collection.

NOTICE OF MOTIONS

Inspection Visit to the Kenya Revenue Authority Offices

The House was given Notice to adopt the report of the Departmental Committee of Finance and National Planning on its inspection visit to the Kenya Revenue Authority offices to ascertain the impact revenue enhancement initiative on revenue collection. Inquiry into the Use of the Standard Gauge Railway The House to adopted the Report of the Departmental Committee on Transport, Public Works and Housing on its Inquiry into the Use of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), laid on the Table of the House on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. Inquiry into the Status of Stadia in Kenya The House adopted the Report of the Departmental Committee on Sports, Culture and Tourism on the Inquiry into the Status of Stadia in Kenya, laid on the Table of the House on Tuesday, October 13, 2020.

Inquiry into the Utilization of the Funds Appropriated to the Ministry of Health in the Financial Year 2019/20 for the Covid-19 Pandemic The House was given notice to adopt the Report of the Departmental Committee on Health on its Inquiry into the Utilization of the Funds Appropriated to the Ministry of Health in the Financial Year 2019/20 for the Control and Management of the COVID-19 Pandemic, with Focus on the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA), laid on the Table of the House on Thursday, October 1, 2020.

Provision of Assistive Devices and Required Medical Items Free of Charge to Persons with Disabilities The House was informed of a motion that according to the World Health Organization, an estimated 15 percent of the world’s population live with some form of disability or different ability, with 80 percent of them living in developing countries. The motion notes that in Kenya, approximately 6.5 million people live with some form of disability out of whom, nearly 3.8 million are women and girls, while approximately 85 percent of the total number live in abject poverty. A majority of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) face numerous challenges including being denied their fundamental rights and freedoms including the right to education and opportunities to work, virtually guaranteeing that they will live their lives in poverty which often exacerbates their vulnerability and dependency on other people, assistive devices and critical medical items and requirements. Lack of these devices, medical items and requirements makes it impossible for PWDs to live normal and dignified lives. It is thus that this House urges the National Government to provide assistive devices and required medical items and requirements free of charge to Persons with Disabilities at the Constituency level through government hospitals or any other government body and to put in place mechanisms for replacement of worn-out devices to enable them live a dignified life, be more productive and to coexist with other people in the society.

Establishment of Database Centres in All Civil Registration Centres in The Country

The House was informed of a motion that the Constitution and the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011 provide that every citizen is entitled to any document of registration or identification issued by the State to citizens including a birth certificate. Further, Article 53(2) of the Constitution of Kenya provides that a child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child. Noting that, issuance of birth certificates during civil registration associated with children is a challenge across the country due to among other issues, missing information for the parents and children as a result missing and improper documentations, damaged manual documents, and lack of registration of children born outside hospital environments and the delays and long queues at civil registration centres and the challenges affecting registration of children by the Ministry of Education using the National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) in the Country; the House urges the Government to establish database centres in all Civil Registration Centres for purposes of storing all the necessary information required for issuance of birth certificates to all children and puts in place administrative mechanisms to ensure that every child is automatically issued with a birth certificate before the child attains the age of three years.

STATEMENTS

Inadequate and Irregular Disbursement of Tuition and General-Purpose Funds to Primary Schools

A Statement was requested from the Chairperson of the Departmental Committee on Education and Research on the inadequate and irregular disbursement of tuition and general-purpose funds to primary schools by the Ministry of Education on the following:

  • How does the Ministry expect schools to run seamlessly in the face of inadequate and irregular funding of Simba Tuition Accounts and General-Purposes Accounts?
  • Why is the Ministry exposing teachers, learners and staff to COVID-19 pandemic by failing to disburse funds for mitigating COVID-19 which has also placed undue pressure on parents who are being compelled to fund COVID-19 mitigation measures?
  • What is the Ministry doing to sustain free primary education in the country in view of the funding disparities of primary schools compared to secondary schools and to further motivate teachers to apply for head teacher positions?

A background to the Statement requested was given noting that the Ministry failed to disburse 20 per cent of funding earmarked for Simba Tuition Account in 2018, despite schools placing orders for learning materials. Further, the Ministry failed to disburse the 30 per cent of the same in 2019 despite suppliers demanding their due payments. Again, the Ministry failed to disburse 30 per cent of tuition funds and 30 per cent for General-Purposes Account funds in 2020. Therefore, making it impossible for the schools to pay routine expenses such as security guards wages, post office box charges, telephone and postage charges, among others. In addition, the Ministry is yet to avail funds for pedal-operated waste collection liners, toilet disinfectants, basic Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), thermal guns, running water, soap, sanitisers and sickbays for isolation in case of COVID-19 disease cases. Additionally, it has failed to release funds for payment of boards of management teachers’ salaries and accessing essential materials. Thus, making it impossible for primary schools to conduct meaningful assessment tests which are required. The funding challenges have jeopardised the continued sustainability of free primary education in the country as exemplified by the fact that most deputy head teachers are unwilling to apply for promotion to head teachers since the positions are extremely stressful.

Status of Kenya’s Public Debt Management

A Statement was requested from the Chairperson of the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning regarding the status of the public debt management on the following:

  • What is the actual status of all the public debt contracts between the Government of the Republic of Kenya and international lenders?
  • What is the percentage of all loans granted to the Government of Kenya by the People’s Republic of China and in particular the Exim Bank of China and China Development Bank?
  • What are plans in place to enter into public debt contract with Trade and Development Bank (TDB) for any other syndicated loans that the Government of Kenya may be possessing currently?
  • What plans are in place with regard to debt restructuring and debt deferral in light of prevailing economic hardships?
  • What is the current public debt management strategy?
  • What are consequences of the Government of Kenya defaulting loans repayment?

A background to the Statement requested was given noting that Section 33 of the Public Finance Management Act of 2012 stipulates that the Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury submits to Parliament a statement setting out the debt management strategy of the national Government over the medium term with respect to its actual liability and potential liability, in respect of loans and guarantees and its plans for dealing with those liabilities. Further, that Section 62(3) of the Public Finance Management Act of 2012 specifies public debt management strategy as to minimise the cost of public debt management and borrowing over the long-term taking into account the risk; promote the development of the market institutions for Government debt securities and ensure the sharing of the benefits and costs of public debt between the current and future generations. However, the reports on Public Debt Management submitted by the National Treasury give insufficient data. In the recent years, the level of public borrowing by the Government of Kenya has escalated and is now already unsustainable. It is projected that Kenya will reach the Ksh9 trillion public debt ceiling within the next two years, due to the anticipated revenue shortfall in the current fiscal year and the uncontrolled expenditure.

Inua Jamii Cash Transfer Programme

A Statement was requested from the Chairperson Departmental Committee on Labour and social welfare regarding Inua Jamii on the following:

  • What measures are in place to ensure that all elderly persons, orphans and persons living with disabilities are incorporated in the Inua Jamii Cash Transfer Program?
  • What steps has the government taken to ensure that these needy persons are enrolled and benefit from the program?
  • Could the chairperson table a list of all beneficiary of the Inua Jamii Cash Transfer program from Naivasha sub-county?

Status of Covid19 Infections Among Learners

A Statement was sought from the Cabinet Secretary for Education in regards to the status of COVID19 infections. In the Statement, the CS should:

  • Explain the current status of COVID19 infections among learners in Grade 4, Standard 8, Form 4 and students in tertiary institutions and universities as well as teaching and non-teaching staff since the re-opening of learning institutions?
  • State the specific measures is the Government undertaking to enhance safety of learners, teaching and non-teaching staff particularly in the event of a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic?
  • State the practical measures has the Ministry implemented to ensure that social distancing and other Covid-19 mitigation protocols requirements are adhered to.
  • Indicate whether the Government sufficiently prepared to timeously handle Covid19 outbreaks in schools noting the intended full re-opening of learning institutions?

Benefits of the Directive on Public Officials Travel

A Statement was sought from the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works in regards to the benefits realized by the government and Kenya Airways following the Head of the Public Service’s directive that all public officials travel using Kenya Airways. In the Statement, the Committee should:

  • Explain the benefits realized by the government and Kenya Airways following the Head of the Public Service’s directive that all public officials travel using Kenya Airways noting the airline continues to charge exorbitant airfares on local and international flights and offer unreliable services including perpetual delays and rescheduling of flight?
  • State what measures are in place to address the continued financial losses and trade disputes experienced by the national carrier that compels the Government to continuously bailout the airline?
SENATE

STATEMENTS

State of PSV Sector during the Covid-19 Pandemic

A Statement was sought from the Departmental Committee on Roads and Transportation regarding the state of the PSV sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Statement the Committee should:

  • Explain the plans the Government has, to ensure a transition by PSV from carrying 60 per cent passenger capacity to 100 per cent is effected as has already been done in the airline industry.
  • Outline the sensitization program being undertaken by the Government to PSV operators and passengers that will ensure that continued strict adherence to health protocols is maintained.
  • State the penalties contemplated by the Government, if any, to be meted out on the operators who fail to comply with the laid down protocols.
  • Outline the measures being undertaken by the Government in terms of policy to cushion the PSV industry from severe losses going forward.

Rampant cases of insecurity in the Nairobi CBD

A Statement was sought from the Standing Committee on National Security, Defence and Foreign Relations on the rampant cases of insecurity Nairobi CBD. In the Statement, the Committee should

  • Outline what the Government is doing to curb cases of mugging, pickpocketing, phone grabbing and other petty offenses, which have lately become very rampant in the CBD;
  • Explain the complacency and inability by the police to contain the menace considering the allegations that the police are protecting the gangs and state the measures;
  • To hold accountable officers who will be found culpable of providing protection to the criminal gangs; and,
  • State whether the Government is aware of the claims that some members of the street families are part of those engaging in crime in the CBD, and if so, state what measures are in place to investigate and solve the matter.

Measures by KWS and private sanctuaries to enable PWDS to access their facilities

A Statement was sought from the Standing Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industrialization on the measures put in place by the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) and private sanctuaries to support PWDs to access national game parks, game reserves and animal orphanages. In the Statement, the Committee should:

  • State the measures put in place by the KWS and private sanctuaries to ensure accessibility by the PWDs with different disability types in all areas of national game parks, game reserves and animal orphanages, including washrooms and restaurants.
  • Outline other measures put in place to ensure that PWDs enjoy the services on a near equal basis to persons without disabilities.

Measures by county governments to support PWDs during the Covid-19 pandemic

A Statement was sought from the Standing Committee on National Cohesion, Equal Opportunity and Regional Integration on the measures put in place by county governments to support PWDs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Statement, the Committee should

  • Provide a verified report of the statistics of the PWDs living in each county by gender, age and disability type.
  • State the measures the county governments have put in place to facilitate and support PWDs during the COVID-19 pandemic, including ensuring that children with disabilities continue to receive essential physiological services.
  • State the measures that the county governments have put in place to protect caregivers of children with disabilities and their guardians in line with the Ministry of Health COVID-19 protocols guidelines.
  • State the budgetary allocation set aside for the PWDs in each county and how the funds have been utilized during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The alleged transfer of Kenya Ferry Services to Kenya Ports Authority

A Statement was made on the floor of the house in regards to the alleged transfer of Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) to Kenya Ports Authority (KPA). It was noted that the KFS is currently the most convenient link between the mainland south and Mombasa Island in Mombasa County. The last two weeks have been marred with allegations that plans are underway to transfer the functions of KFS to KPA. The KFS commenced operations in 1937 as a private service and was later taken over by the Municipal Council of Mombasa in partnership with the now defunct Kenya Bus Service Limited. In 1989, Kenya Bus Services Limited withdrew from the ferry services and the Government through KPA took over the operations. On 29th April, 1994, the MV Mtongwe ferry capsized leaving over 250 people dead. After this tragic incident, the Government commissioned an inquiry headed by the Hon. Justice Mbogholi Msagha into the operations of KFS. The observations were that the KFS underfunded and poorly maintained as a department of KPA. The Government implemented some of the recommendations of the inquiry through Sessional Paper No.3 of 1998, including granting the KFS autonomy and the Government becoming the major shareholder and KPA remaining as a minority shareholder. Despite this action, the KFS still continue to face some of the challenges from 1994 with funding being the greatest challenge.

To date, 26 years later, the victims of the MV Mtongwe Ferry disaster have never been compensated. The proposed handing over of the KFS to KPA violates Article 186 and Schedule 4 (2) of the Constitution of Kenya, which provides that ferry services are functions of county government and should be transferred to the County Government of Mombasa. The Kenya Ports Authority Act gives KPA a specific mandate of managing the ports in Kenya, but does not extend this mandate to managing the operations of ferries. Over the years, the management and operation of KFS has deteriorated, largely because of lack of investment by the national Government.

The KFS is instrumental to the well-being and livelihood of the people of Mombasa and the county in general. Any material changes to the operations of KFS solely should not be left to the national Government. It requires extensive consultations, including public participation before it is ratified. The service cannot be run as a department of KPA, which is also facing a myriad of challenges of its own. The national Government should, therefore, consider transferring the service under Article 187 to the County Government of Mombasa as this will be a more prudent direction to take in the operations of KFS. It was also observed that early in September, a Statement was brought on the supposed merger of KPA, Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) and Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC). However, the same is yet to be addressed by the concerned Committees.

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