Legislature to expedite pending bills crucial to delivery of Big Four Agenda
Kenya is keen to speed up implementation of projects under President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda, where a big number of the developments face delays over lack of funding and proper legislative guidelines.
The government, through the National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee, is lobbying for optimum legislative support towards the realization of the Big Four agenda.
On Monday, a delegation led by Interior and Coordination of National Security Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i held a consultative meeting with the Senate Liaison Committee comprising the Speaker, Hon. Kenneth Lusaka, and the chairs of various Standing Committees in a bid to strike a collaborative partnership in finding solutions to the legal and legislative issues impeding smooth delivery of government projects.
During the meeting, Dr. Matiang’i noted that a number of crucial bills directly linked to project management are pending before the legislature, adding that delays in passing them have seen contractors suffer eventual cost overruns thereby triggering huge financial penalties on the government’s part.
The Cabinet Secretary appealed to lawmakers to expedite the proposed legislations to fast-track delivery of key programmes and projects funded by the national government across the country.
Among the bills identified include The Food Security Bill 2017, The Physical Planning Bill 2017, The Irrigation Bill 2017, The Kenya Roads Bill 2017, The Public Private Partnerships (Amendment) Bill 2017 , and The Warehouse Receipts System Bill (Sen. Bills No. 10 of 2017), all of which were introduced between September and December, 2017.
On behalf of the Liaison Committee, Speaker Lusaka noted that some of the bills have already been passed on to the National Assembly and pledged to push the remaining ones to the top of the Senate’s legislative priorities in the soonest time possible.
CS Matiang’i stated that the Committee will reach out to other stakeholders, including the Council of Governors, to deliberate the challenges constraining successful delivery of development projects and come up with new perspectives to address them.
“We will also rope in our colleagues in the county governments so that we can address all these issues together,” Matiang’i said.
So far, the Committee has flagged up financial mismanagement, limited space for civic participation, weak performance management, and silo mentality as some of the other serious impediments to effective project implementation.
Present were: Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, and Cabinet Secretaries Charles Keter(Energy), Simon Chelugui(Water), James Macharia(Transport) , Joe Mucheru(ICT) and Raphael Tuju.
The Senate Liaison Committee was represented by Njeru Ndwiga (Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries), John Nderitu (Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations), Mahamud Mohamed (Finance and Budget), Michael Mbito (Health), Samson Cherarkey (Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights), Paul Mwangi (Lands, Environment and Natural Resources), Charles Kibiru (Tourism, Trade and Industrialization), andMoses Kajwang’ (County Public Accounts and Investments Sessional Committee).
President Kenyatta’s Big Four has for pillars namely: Food Security, Universal Healthcare, Manufacturing and affordable healthcare for all.
CRITICAL PENDING BILLS
Food Security Bill 2017
Provides a legislative framework to ensure all Kenyans, at all times, have access to sufficient, quality and nutritious food. The Bill addresses the food insecurity situation within the country and proposes to give effect to Article 43(1)(c) of the Constitution on Kenyans being free from hunger.
The Bill confers various obligations on the National and County Governments as well as underscores the need to adopt policies and interventions that cut across a number of sectors including security, health, education and agriculture to fulfill obligations in relation to food security.
It makes specific recognition to; Children through school feeding programmes; Women during pregnancy and lactation and; Vulnerable persons who cannot access food for survival.
The Bill provides for the establishment of a National Food Security Authority (FSA) charged with the formulation of policies, programmes and strategies regarding food security along with a Food Security Fund to proactively coordinate food security activities and respond to food emergencies.
Currently, hundreds of Kenyans are facing the starvation as drought continues to ravage the country.
Physical Planning Bill 2017
Seeks to repeal and replace the Physical Planning Act of 1996 on the planning, use, regulation and development of land in Kenya. It provides procedures and standards for development control and the regulation of physical planning and land use at the national, regional, county, urban, and rural and cities level.
The Bill proposes to establish the National Physical Planning Consultative Forum and other Regional, County and Local planning institutions for development control though promoting effective coordination and integration of physical development planning vis a vis sector planning and to giving guidance for the preparation and implementation of physical development plans and strategies nationally, regionally, locally, in Counties and in special areas.
Irrigation Bill 2017
Provides legislation to promote the development and management of irrigation in Kenya setting out the role of County Governments as well as the powers of the National Government in the regulation of irrigation.
The Bill proposes the establishment of the National Irrigation Development Authority to succeed the National Irrigation Board to provide irrigation services ranging from provision of water and land for irrigation, management of irrigation schemes, governance of irrigation water users’ associations as well as research, innovation and training.
Kenya Roads Bill 2017
Reviews the classification and management of the road network and roads sub sector in Kenya by seeking to rationalize the legal and institutional framework in a more efficient and effective manner.
It proposes to amend the Kenya Roads Board Act 1999, repeal the Kenya Roads Act 2007, as well as the Public Roads and Roads of Access Act 1920.
The Bill proposes for the establishment of a Public Roads Standards Board tasked to prescribe standards for testing, design, construction and maintenance of national trunk roads by road authorities and county roads by the County Governments.
The board will as well manage funds to road agencies or county governments to comply with the public roads standards.
Public Private Partnerships (Amendment) Bill 2017
Seeks to amend the Public and Private Partnerships Act 2013 to have the design, financing, construction, operation, equipping, management and maintenance of a project for the provision of a public service undertaken as a public private partnership to be done under the provisions of the Amended Bill.
Land Value Index Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018
Seeks to amend the Lands Act, the Land Registration Act and the Prevention, protection and assistance to IDPs and Affected Communities Act.
It provides for the assessment of land value index for the purpose of determining and rationalizing land rent, land rates, stamp duty and compensation of compulsory acquired land.
The Bill also seeks to standardize and harmonize compensation process in instances of compulsory acquisition of land in order to implement public infrastructure projects.
Government Contracts (National Assembly Bill No. 9 of 2018)
Proposes to repeal and re-enact the Government Contracts Act in line with the 2010 Constitution to provide for the powers and conditions of the National and County Governments to enter into contracts.
It provides for an outstanding condition that all contracts shall be cleared by the Attorney General or respective County Attorneys before they are signed.
The Bill clearly provides a declaration be included in contracts that no money is directly or indirectly paid by the contractor to solicit or obtain a contract contrary to applicable anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws.
Public Participation Bill 2018
Provides a general legal framework for effective, fair and equal access to public participation in policy making and government processes. It gives effect to the principles of participatory democracy as outlined in the 2010 Constitution.
The Bill designates relevant authorities including Parliament, Judiciary, Independent offices, Ministries, County Assemblies, County Executives and responsible public establishments to develop institution specific guidelines for public participation within a stipulated timeline.
County Statutory Instruments Bill 2018
Provides for the scrutiny, publication and operation of rules, orders and regulations made by County Assemblies.
The Bill seeks to provide a legal mechanism in which County Assemblies will scrutinize subsidiary legislations and statutory instruments.
Data Protection Bill 2018
Seeks to promote the protection of privacy and personal data collected, used and stored by private and public entities by regulating manner in which the data is processed as well as providing persons with rights and remedies to protect their personal data.
The Bill places oversight and implementation on the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) including investigating abuses.
Warehouse Receipts System Bill (Senate Bill No.10 of 2017)
Provides a legal framework for the development and regulation for the depositing of agricultural commodities, particularly cereals and grains, in a licensed warehouse and issued receipts used as documents of title.
The Bill provides for the establishment of the Warehouse Receipt System Council that will provide for the licensing and inspection of warehouses as well as revocation and suspension of a license. It also provides for the establishment of a Central Registry operated by the Council to register transactions relating to warehouse receipts issued and their replacement when lost.