President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed seven Bills into law, aimed at streamlining service delivery to the public.
The eight Bills include, The Nairobi International Financial Centre Bill, The Kenya Trade Remedies Bill, The President’s Awards Bill, The Traffic Amendment Bill, The Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Bill, The Occupational Therapists (Training Registration and Licensing) Bill, The Kenya National Examination Council Amendment Bill and The Companies Amendment Bill.
The Nairobi International Financial Centre Act seeks to provide for legal framework to facilitate and support the development of an efficient and globally competitive financial services sector in Kenya.
This will in turn help the financial sector to generate high levels of national savings and investments through the establishment of the Nairobi Financial Centre.
The Act also establishes the Nairobi Financial Centre Authority whose task would be to establish and maintain an efficient operating framework in order to attract and retain firms.
The Authority would also develop and recommend strategies and incentive structures in collaboration with relevant agencies in order to attract firms to be Nairobi International Financial Centre firms.
It would also review and recommend in collaboration with the relevant regulatory authorities developments to the legal and regulatory framework in order to develop Kenya as an international competitive financial centre.
The Kenya Trade Remedies Act, seeks to provide for the establishment of the Kenya Trade Remedies Agency for the investigation and imposition of ant-dumping, countervailing and trade safeguard measures.
The Act also seeks to enable the Government to take necessary measures to protect domestic industries from foreign competition and unfair trade practices arising from dumping, subsidizing and import surges.
The Act further seeks to establish an independent investigation body, the Kenya Trade Remedies Agency to investigate and determine the existence of dumping and subsidization in imported products and recommend appropriate measures to be taken by the government.
It also seeks to fulfil the World Trade Organization Agreements on Trade Remedies.
The President’s Award Act seeks to provide for the conferring of awards to young persons.
In particular the Act seeks to regulate the conferring of awards to young persons who voluntarily undertake to fulfil self-development activities.
It also seeks to establish mechanisms and procedures for the undertaking of Award programmes and present young people a balanced, non-competitive programme of voluntary activities, which encourage personal discovery and growth, perseverance, responsibility to themselves and service to their community.
The Act would also provide for the establishment of the President’s Award Board of Trustees, which shall among other things regulate the President’s Award.
The Traffic Amendment Act 2017 seeks to amend the Traffic (cap 403) in order to ensure road safety near schools and also promote child safety in motor vehicles.
In particular it provides that a person shall not drive, or being the owner or person in charge of a vehicle, cause or permit any other person to drive, any vehicle at a speed exceeding fifty kilometres per hour on any road within the boundaries of a nursery, primary or secondary school or an area used by the children when crossing to and from school as by be designated as a pedestrian crossing by the highway authority.
It further provides that a person who contravenes the provisions of the section shall be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand shillings.
The Act also says the highway authority is given the responsibility of erecting and maintaining traffic signs as prescribed in the Act so as plainly to indicate to drivers entering or leaving such roads or areas where the fifty kilometres per hour speed limit restrictions begins and ends.
In terms of promoting child safety in motor vehicles, the Act provides that a person or institution shall not designate or use a vehicle for transporting children to and from school or non-school related activity unless the vehicle meets the prescribed standards.
The Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act, seeks to give effect to article 117 of the Constitution that provides that there shall be freedom of speech and debate in parliament.
The Act in particular seeks to provide for the powers, privileges and immunities of parliament, its committees, the leader of the majority party, leader of the minority party, chairpersons of committees and members and to make provisions regulating admittance to and conduct within the precincts of parliament.
The Occupational Therapists Act seeks to make provision for the training, registration and licensing of occupational therapists.
It also seeks to regulate their practise, provide for the establishment, powers and functions of the Occupational Therapists Council of Kenya.
It also prescribes the qualifications of persons wishing to be registered by the Council and set out the qualifications for a person wishing to be licenced to engage in private practise as an occupational therapists and also establish a disciplinary committee to deal with all disciplinary matters on the same.
The Kenya National Examination Council Amendment Act 2016, seeks to amend the Kenya National Examination Council Act in order to ensure the integrity of the examination and education system in Kenya.
The Act in particular creates the offence against the member, officer, agent or staff of the council whose omission or commission leads to an examination irregularity.
The offence shall attract a penalty of a term not exceeding five years or a fine not exceeding five million shillings or both.
The Act also establishes a Tribunal to be known as the National Examinations Appeals Tribunal, which shall consider all appeals made against a decision of the council to withhold, nullify or cancel examinations prepared and administered by the council.
The Companies Amendment Act 2017 seeks to amend the companies Act 2015 in order to ensure that it conforms to other laws, global trends and best practices.
The Act is not only meant to improve provisions on the extent of the director’s liabilities, extent the director’s disclosure and shareholder’s remedies in case of a dispute to further protect investors but also to ensure ease of doing business, protect minority investors and clarify the ambiguities in the Act.