Home NEWS Local News National Assembly processes 18 Bills during the Second Session

National Assembly processes 18 Bills during the Second Session

13th Parliament

The National Assembly had processed a total of eighteen Bills by the time the House went on long recess last week.

The eighteen which has since been assented into law by President William Ruto form part of the one hundred and fourteen (114) Bills that are at various stages of consideration.

Among the Bills approved by the House are crucial legislations relating to Climate Change, reforms in the health sector and government financing of priority projects.

The Finance Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 14 of 2023) approved in June 2023, provided the revenue raising measures by the Government, to facilitate the budget estimates for the financial year 2023/2024.

This passage of this legislation paved the way for the introduction of a housing levy to fund the Affordable Housing initiative by the Government, and also increased the fuel levy to boost the fund ringfenced for fuel price stabilization .

The Appropriation Bill, 2023 and two Supplementary Appropriation Bills were also passed in June and November respectively, to provide funding for the Government or reallocate funds to emergency efforts due to extreme drought and flooding incidents within the year.

In what perhaps demonstrates that Climate Change and its effects is now becoming a priority agenda for legislatures, the National Assembly also approved the Climate Change (Amendment) Bill which sought to amend the Climate Change Act, 2016 to provide for the regulation of carbon markets.

It also created and enhanced the mandate of several institutions responsible for regulation of the carbon markets.

The enactment of the law now makes Kenya compliant with the Paris Agreement which Kenya ratified and became party to in 2016.

On the other hand, the amended National Government-Constituencies Develoment Fund (NG-CDF) Act which was assented to by President William Ruto early December, expanded the mandate of the fund to cater for projects such as climate mitigation, placing Kenyan legislators at the center of climate change mitigation efforts.

The amended Act allocates a maximum of 5 percent of the funds allocated per constituency to climate change mitigation activities including afforestation, reforestation, grassroot sensitization, and tree seedling production.

The Act is also set to cater for other social benefits such as school feeding programmes, particularly in drought-stricken areas where students drop out of school in search of food and water.

Another notable development  in the second session was the enactment of four health Sector Bills, two of which originated in the National Assembly.

The Bills aimed at revolutionizing the healthcare sector. Firstly, the House considered and approved the Digital Health Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 57 of 2023) which provided for the establishment of the Digital Health Agency, framework for provision of digital health services and to establish a comprehensive integrated digital health information system.

The second health Bill was the Social Health Insurance Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 58 of 2023) which established a legislative framework to regulate the provision of social health insurance, promote the implementation of Universal Health Coverage, and to ensure that all Kenyans have access to affordable and comprehensive quality health services.

The Bill further repealed the National Health Insurance Fund Act (No. 9 of 1998).

Three public Funds were established under the Act, namely the Primary Healthcare Fund, the Social Health Insurance Fund, and the Emergency, Chronic, and Critical Illness Fund, for funding of healthcare services.

The Bill was passed and assented to on October 19, 2023.The other two health Bills that originated in the Senate were the Facilities Improvement Financing Bill (Senate Bill No. 43 of 2023) and the Primary Health Care Bill (Senate Bill No. 44 of 2023).

These were also passed in the National Assembly and assented to on October 19, 2023.During the Session, the House also undertook vetting of fifty-three (53) nominees and approval of fifty-one (51) nominees to various state and public offices, including the Solicitor-General, the Director-General of the National Intelligence Service, the Director of Public Prosecutions and, the Governor and Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya.

Others include the Chairperson of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Chairperson of the Commission on Revenue Allocation, Chairperson of the Board of the Central Bank of Kenya, the Chairperson of the Kenya Fish Marketing Authority, Principal Secretaries; High Commissioners, Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives and Members of various Constitutional Commissions, Boards and Councils.

The period also saw the House amend its Standing Orders in June, to pave way for Cabinet Secretaries to respond to Questions by Members in plenary as well as address emerging matters of national importance.

For the first time, the House considered and approved a request from the Ministry of Interior and National Administration on the deployment of officers from the National Police Service to a Multinational Security Support Mission to Haiti.

In June, the House approved the Charter for the open university of Kenya, enabling the first fully online university to be established to provide an avenue for Open, Distance and E-learning.

This move is aimed at expanding access to university education through provision of flexible modes of study.

The House further approved the ratification various international treaties, agreements and protocols as part of Kenya’s international obligations, and approved during the Session and also adopted several Committee Reports.

To address the unpredictability of tax rates and mainstream Kenya’s tax system, the House approved the first ever National Tax Policy, whose overall objective is to guide the progressive development and administration of Kenya’s tax system.

The Policy is set to provide guidelines that support economic development, enhance the Country’s competitive edge, promote economic diversification, establish tax incentives and to ensure that taxation supports the Country’s Strategies in the mitigation of climate change.

The legislators further considered several matters of public concern that arose in the course of the year. Some of these include the Memorandum by the National Treasury and Economic Planning on Action Plans to revive and Commercialize State-owned Sugar Companies, which included approval of the leasing model for the five (5) state-owned sugar companies within the provisions of the Public Private Partnerships Act (No. 14 of 2021).

They also undertook inquiries regarding sexual harassment of female workers in tea estates in Kericho County and another regarding Maize flour subsidy Programme for the Financial Year 2022/23.

Other matters that House inquired on relates to the Consolidated Fund Service Expenditures under the financial year 2023/2024; and Loans contracted by the National Government between May 2022 and April 2023.