Mr. Mbugua is not here!
asked the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security:- (a) to table before the House a complete list of persons injured and/or fatally shot by Police in Kisumu Town during the saba-saba riots and the whole duration of post-election violence in 2007/2008; and (b) what steps he is taking to ensure the victims and/or their families are, as a step towards reconciliation, paid ex-gratia compensation and to settle suits now pending before various courts in Kisumu resulting from the above events.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I seek the indulgence of the Chair to give me time to look for the files on the S aba Saba riots of 2004. I have consulted the Questioner and he has no objection.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I think the Question was not understood. I wanted the details of the cases filed in respect of the S aba Saba riots of 2007 and the one of â Haki yetuâ . So, the Assistant Minister does not have to go back to 2004.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you look at the Question, it is
Mr. Assistant Minister, the Chair observes that this is Question No.29. It is a very old Question!
Yes, it is an old Question.
You have already had a long time to look for the files and answer this Question!
Mr. Speaker, Sir, in order for me to reply adequately, I need more time to get---
You must be serious with it because you have had much more time than you would need to reply to this Question adequately. I do not know how much time you need when it is Question No.29! I do not know how old it is. Mr. Olago, when did you file this Question?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I filed the Question early this year.
This Question was filed at the beginning of this year and we are now going to the end of the year! Mr. Ojode, you have had close to one year to get the files on the Question!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister talked to me in the morning and I thought he sounded genuine. It would be good to give him a little more time.
Questioner, how genuine would one be to take a whole year to answer a Question?
He sounded very genuine on the phone this morning.
Assistant Minister, the Chair gives you until next Wednesday morning to answer this Question. Failure to which, the Chair will have no option but to take certain punitive actions against your Ministry! This is not taking the business of the House seriously.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not want to dispute your ruling but by Wednesday I will be out of the country. Could I do it on Tuesday the week after?
Mr. Olago, are you okay with that?
That is fine with Mr. Olago!
Let it be the last time! Next Question by Mr. Jeremiah Kioni!
Mr. Kioni is not here! Next Question!
asked the Minister for Industrialization what plans he has to establish a leather industry in Northern Kenya to process the abundant hides and skins which are currently going to waste.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. The Government attaches a lot of importance to the development of the livestock sector. The leather sub-sector in particular is one of those we have targeted under the Vision 2030. The Government is promoting value addition in this sub-sector. The Ministry of Industrialization through its parastatal, the Kenya Industrial Research Development Institute (KIRDI) plans to establish mini-tanneries in high livestock potential areas. These areas are in arid and semi-arid areas including the North Eastern Province or northern Kenya. In the northern Kenya, my Ministry has identified Garissa, Wajir, Kapenguria and Mararal for establishment of mini-tanneries. The following will be done by KIRDI to support potential investors:- (i) Technology for establishing a mini tannery. (ii) Skills- training in running the tannery. (iii) Support in linkages to the market. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in Garissa we have already started Phase I and an entrepreneur has been identified and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with KIRDI for implementation which has already started. In West Pokot, a similar MoU has been signed with an individual. In Meru/Chuka, a community-based organization has been identified. A site at Kaamba/ Ngâombe has also been identified and civil works are going on. In Wajir, enquiries from Ewaso Nyiro North Development Authority (ENNDA) have already started and we are collaborating to set up a mini tannery in Wajir Town and studies have already commenced. In Maralal, KIRDI is working with a community-based organization known as Meloni Cooperative Society to upgrade the existing rural tannery. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Member who asked the Question is from Marsabit and I know at the moment we have not started any programme in Moyale or Marsabit. However, we will be willing and ready to collaborate with any investor; whether individual or community-based organization, to start something there.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this is a resource that is being totally wasted in northern Kenya. The Minister has identified four areas; two in North Eastern Province and two in the Rift Valley Province. The whole of Upper Eastern Province has totally been neglected. What criteria were used in identifying those four areas?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have not left out the whole of Upper Eastern Province as alleged by the hon. Member. As I said, this is Phase I. In keeping
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I happen to come from the same province with the Member for North Horr Constituency. This is one region which has been neglected in the past. What affirmative action is the Minister taking to make sure that he taps the potential in arid and semi-arid areas which have been neglected for a long time? What deliberate efforts is he putting in place to encourage investors to invest in those areas?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we do not want to neglect or marginalize any area. In fact, that is why the Ministry of State for development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Areas exists to create a focus on this particular area!
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Development is not an accident neither is industrialization. The Minister has told us where they have decided to put up these mini tanneries, but hides and skins are found all over the country. In fact, in my constituency, there is a place with that same specific name called Kamasero because of the abundance of hides and skins. Could he tell us whether there is a master plan on how to harness the leather products in this country rather than in those few specific areas he has mentioned?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I said from the beginning that the leather sub- sector is one of those sectors that we, as the Government, has attached great importance in industrialization of this country. At the moment, there are about 14 tanneries existing in the country with a very large capacity. I do not want to mention the names of the 14 tanneries which are operating. Most of these tanneries, including the ones that we are starting, have not been able to process leather up to the finished goods. We want to encourage them to actually process leather up to the end product. They have been doing what they call wet blue. Wet blue really is not the way to go. So, apart from encouraging new tanneries like we are doing in the North Eastern Province, we want them to process up to the finished goods such as leather jackets, leather bags and so on. That is what we want to see when we establish many tanneries. For example, if you visit our factories or research centres, you will see they will show the full range from the skin or hide to the end product.
On a point order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Are you on a point of order Mr. Lessonet? What is your point of order?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to believe we are not in this House to just pass time. The Minister has been asked for a master plan. He went ahead to tell us there are 14 tanneries in the country. I do not know whether that is the master plan!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would not like to actually challenge my friend, Mr. Lessonet. However, we have an overall master plan for industrialization. Indeed, all sectors are addressed under this master plan. If you are looking for a master plan for one sector or one product, it is not there. But in the overall industrialization master plan, the livestock sub-sector is covered.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, since the Minister confirmed that his Ministry attaches so much importance to leather, recently the Minister for Livestock Development carried so many animals to Nairobi and in the process some died due to poor body condition. Could he tell the House if hides were realized? If any, what was the tonnage?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, Dr. Nuh as well as all hon. Members of this House actually saw that when the livestock died in Athi River, they were buried without skinning. Those that died in the dry areas, there was no attempt to skin them before they died. Therefore, I cannot answer adequately that question. It is safe to say no skins were recovered from the dead animals.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. The Minister mentioned that many of the 14 tanneries only go up to wet blue stage. Could he confirm that there was three industries that were carrying on leather to full processing? One of them was the Leather Industries of Kenya. However, many of them closed down because of disproportional taxes that actually favoured the exportation of wet blue. It made more viable for wet blue to be exported rather than to be processed here as the end product.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, actually it is the opposite. We changed the tax laws and this House passed them; to encourage processing up to the finished goods. There are still five tanneries, and not three, which actually process up to the finished product. We are trying to encourage them now to actually improve the quality, so that the finished product is as good as any other in the world.
Last question, Mr. Chachu!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, for the Ministry to be effective, it must have some physical presence in our districts. I know that this Ministry is relatively young, but could the Minister consider posting his technical staff to our districts, so that they can work with community groups and enable us to realize this potential?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Ministry is not that young actually. It has been existing as the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Before I became Minister, there were officers called District Industrial Development Officers and I did not know that they existed. So, I will check because there could actually be an officer in Marsabit. But if there is none, I will post---
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I come from Marsabit North and there are now five districts in the larger Marsabit. My question is specific to Marsabit North and not Marsabit Central.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I was just saying that there may be an officer in Marsabit. I know that there is no officer in North Horr, for sure. To be specific to the hon. Member, I will post a District Industrial Development Officer to that area.
asked the Minister for Agriculture:- (a) what measures he is taking to ensure that farmers use the correct fertilizer at every planting season; (b) what the recent soil analysis results in areas with high agricultural potential such as the Rift Valley and Western Kenya are as well as the recommended fertilizers for this region; and, (c) what the procedure for individual farmers to access the results of soil analysis for guidance on fertilizer use is.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a) My Ministry is taking the following measures to ensure that farmers use the correct fertilizer at every planting time:
(i) It undertakes prudent inspection of fertilizer before shipment and at the port of landing and subsequently, carries surveillance on stockists countrywide to ensure that fertilizer quality is maintained.
(ii) Prior to planting, Agricultural Extension Officers prepare farmers for the next seasons through training activities that include field days, demonstrations and exhibitions.
(iii) Through field visits, Agricultural Extension Officers advise farmers on the correct use of fertilizer and how to obtain the same information from the print and electronic media. (iv) Farmers get technical advice from more than 1,500 information desks that the Ministry has established countrywide.
(b) The recent soil analysis results in the areas of high agricultural potential such as the Rift Valley and western Kenya indicate that the soils are moderate to highly acidic, low in phosphorus and nitrogen and adequate in potassium. The fertilizer types recommended are based on specific soil conditions and type of crop grown.
(c) Farmers wishing to access results of soil analysis can get them at the nearest agricultural office at a prescribed fee.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, definitely, the Assistant Minister has misunderstood my Question. This is because it was about the use of correct fertilizers and not the quality of the fertilizer. You have gone ahead to tell us that the Rift Valley and parts of Western Province have been shown to have high acidity and low phosphorus. Why are you dumping Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertilizer in Rift Valley and Western Province when it is not suitable? What measures is the Ministry taking to ensure that farmers get the correct fertilizers, because the yield of maize per acre has gone done from 34 bags to 14 bags and this country is starving? What exactly are you doing to ensure that we get the correct fertilizer?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in fact, we have several centres where farmers are getting their soil tested for a very small fee. For example, if one wants to get his soil tested, he can take it to the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) where he will pay just Kshs1,000. We have many more stations---
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is the Assistant Minister in order to evade my question? I think my question is very clear and in plain English. You have also said it, in your answer, that the soils in the Rift Valley and Western Province are acidic. So, why are you dumping DAP fertilizer in those areas, because that
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am also answering in English. So, I would like the hon. Member also to take note of that. It does not mean that you cannot use DAP fertilizer in the entire Rift Valley. It depends on the agro-ecological zone. You might find one area using different types of fertilizer. But the Ministry is emphasizing to the farmers that even if there is DAP fertilizer in the Rift Valley, it is not a must that it should be used. They should make sure that before they plant, they know exactly, from the agricultural officers, the type of fertilizer that is favourable to their soil. This is because soils vary even if they are in one area.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is, indeed, very sad to see the Assistant Minister stand up here, mislead the whole country and expose his misunderstanding of fertilizer chemistry. He has first of all summarized that Western Province and Rift Valley have uniform soil. That is wrong. The issue is that the fertilizer being used now is not appropriate. Look at Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) fertilizer, if used in low altitudes, where there are alkaline soils, it will cause dispersal of these soils. That means that soils become like flour and subsequently permanently unproductive. Other types of fertilizer will cause permanent filtration of nutrients, such that those soils become useless. It is clear â and looking at the answer â that the Assistant Minister does not understand the Question and magnitude of this problem. I would really urge that he goes back and comes with a proper answer to the Question that has been asked, because he is putting all the farmers in jeopardy.
What is your question?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, my question is: When will the Assistant Minister withdraw all the bogus fertilizer that they have supplied to the farmers and supply them with the appropriate fertilizer across the country?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think the hon. Member is making a very terrifying statement. We are not saying that everybody who is planting in Rift Valley should use DAP fertilizer. We have facilities where one can take a sample of his soil to be analyzed, so that he can be told what type of fertilizer he can use.
Is that facility in Nairobi alone or also everywhere else in the country?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, they are all over. Could you allow me to read the stations? One of them is KARI with branches in Kabete, Kitale, Njoro, Kisii, Embu and Muguga. There is also the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) here in Nairobi. Those are some of the areas where we have facilities.
Are those all the centres?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, even if those are the only centres, if the Agricultural Extension Officers come to your farm and you want a sample of your soil to be tested, you will give it to them and they will take it to the nearest centre. The soil will be tested and you will be told what type of fertilizer you can use in your shamba.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Is the Assistant Minister in order to run through a whole list of centres he purports to be soil testing centres when we know them as collection centres and the soils are taken to the central laboratory? The
Hon. Assistant Minister, you know that you are accountable to the truthfulness of the statements you make on the Floor of the House?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I cannot and I have no any intention at any given time to come here and lie and to say anything that is not truthful. I would refuse the answer in the first place. Even if those are collection centres, their work is to make sure that what you give is taken where it is supposed to be taken and tested and you get the results.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Assistant Minister has spoken of a testing fee of Kshs1,000 and said that it is a small fee. Yes, that is a small fee for large scale-farmers. But the small scale-farmers for whom we represent here in the House and who are the majority of the farmers, Kshs1, 000 is everything. What plans does the Ministry have to annually, as Government, do the testing and ensure that the field extension officers advise the farmers on what fertilizers and what specific seeds to use?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Kshs1,000 I talked of is fees for soil testing only by KARI. Other institutions charge Kshs600 and others Kshs200. So, the fees vary from institution to institution. I also agree with the hon. Member that, if we had the money, I would have said we do it for free; but we cannot because we do not have enough funds.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. The Assistant Minister did not respond to the question that Dr. Khalwale asked. Quite clearly, the hon. Member asked; what system the Ministry has to ensure that the farmer has sound timetable. For instance, when it comes to maize, you have divided the country into various ecological zones where you advise them to use specific seed varieties. Why do you not do the same way with fertilizer, instead of leaving it to individual small-scale farmers to do the soil testing for themselves?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that is really a valid point. I would like to take and pass it to the technical officers so that we can see whether we can do that.
Hon. Member for Kandara!
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. What is the Ministry doing to see to it that this information is given in barazas because most farmers in the villages attend these barazas and that is where they can receive this information, so that the farmers may get proper advice on the type of fertilizer to be used in different areas?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, before the current planting season started, the Ministry held over 200 barazas and exhibition activities which we have visited. I went to some and my colleagues went to some, the Minister went to the others and the others were attended by the directors. This is exactly the area where we are passing this information; telling farmers not just to use any fertilizer that a neighbor uses. They should make sure that the type of fertilizer they use is suitable for the soil. So, that is going on.
Dr. Eseli, can you ask the last question on this. The Chair has deliberately given more leeway on this Question because of the importance of agriculture to this country.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, for that observation. It is indeed, a very sad day because, this country is starving and, we cannot produce enough maize for
But I thought, the hon. Member, you have information that the ecology of a particular soil might vary from one farm to the other. It does not have to be one ecological zone that may need one type of fertilizer. Under those circumstances, how do you expect, Dr. Eseli, the Ministry to have knowledge of all the zones?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I expect the Ministry to have guidelines of each zone, what fertilizer they should use and when. Like right now, in my district, Bungoma North, they should actually be liming the soil to make it less acidic. But this Ministry has got no clue even on the ground, and that is what is happening. That is why I am accusing the Ministry of a crime against humanity.
Fair enough! Hon. Assistant Minister. I thought you should be asking for more testing centres of the soil. Anyway, proceed.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in fact, I want also to correct the hon. Member. This Ministry has done a lot. It is only that nobody is ready to appreciate. We do not only use DAP, we have 2020, and 1770. There are so many different types of fertilizer which have been supplied on that other side. But, what we are saying is that, if you are a farmer and you want to know exactly what fertilizer to use, please, do not just use any fertilizer; make sure that your soil is tested and then you will be told and advised what type of fertilizer you are supposed to use. That idea of the hon. Member saying that this Ministry is misleading the farmers is totally misplaced because we have really done a lot.
Order! Order! Next Question by Hon. Peris Chepchumba! Question No.238
asked the Minister for Housing the following Question:- (a) why several Government Houses meant for junior employees were sold to senior officers; and, (b) what steps are being taken to ensure that the irregularly sold houses are restored to their rightful owners.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) The Ministry of Housing and, indeed, the Government, is not aware of any sale of junior staff housing to any senior officer of the Government in any of the districts
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Could the Minister explain why he decided to repossess a few high grade houses meant for senior civil servants and ignored the junior staff in the Ministry?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have not repossessed any house meant for senior civil servants or junior civil servants. What we did was to stop the sale of so-called non-strategic houses in the districts outside Nairobi. So, the houses have not been sold and they are still being occupied by civil servants. Government houses are categorised into three grades, namely; Middle Grade (MG), High Grade (HG) and Low Grade (LG). So, a junior civil servant is entitled to occupy a Low Grade house. However, where junior civil servants in some districts are occupying High Grade houses, we ask them to vacate them for the senior civil servants or ask them to pay rent that is commensurate with that grade.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Could the Minister tell us what action he has taken in respect to the New Nyanza General Hospital houses that have been grabbed? Those houses are occupied by doctors and the hospitalâs critical staff who are now being harassed. We have written letters to the Minister on a number of occasions, informing him that those houses have been grabbed by some influential people.
Could you ask your question, Mr. Shakeel?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have already asked the question. Could the Minister tell us what action he has taken in respect to the New Nyanza General Hospital houses that have been grabbed? The doctors and the hospitalâs critical staff who live in those houses are now being thrown out.
That is a specific question and it is not the main Question. You are not doing justice to the Question that was asked!
I had said that this is a supplementary question, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Minister, you are at liberty to respond.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, Kisumuâs case is a sad one in that a total of 170 Government houses have been grabbed. My Ministry is in the process of finding out how the titles issued to those Government houses can be cancelled. As you know, that can only be done through a court process. We are still going through the process together
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. The Minister has indicated that they have not sold junior staff houses outside Nairobi. This means that they have sold junior staff houses in Nairobi. Why has he sold junior staff houses in Nairobi?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we did not sell houses meant for junior civil servants in Nairobi. What happened was that the Government decided to offload what we considered to be non-strategic houses in all the urban areas. Phase I involved offloading the houses in Nairobi, where a total of 1,200 mainly middle level houses were sold in estates like Rubia, Kileleshwa, Upper Hill and Westlands. In fact, the houses for junior civil servants in Nairobi were not touched. These houses are mostly found along Jogoo Road in Eastlands. These houses are still being occupied by civil servants. My Ministry is developing about 600 new housing units for junior civil servants in the Ngara area of Nairobi.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, could the Minister tell this House the remedial action he has taken with regard to the grabbed houses as indicated in the Ndungâu Report so that Government workers do not continue to suffer?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Ndungâu Report has not been implemented. If you go through the Report, you will find that the recommendations that are contained therein were to be implemented by another Ministry and not my Ministry. I am also eagerly waiting for the implementation of the Ndungâu Report so that we can have the Government houses which were grabbed revert back to the Ministry.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, you will realise that most of the housing projects that the Minister has referred to are located in the major towns of this country while a number of civil servants are based in the rural urban centres. What action has he taken to ensure that those civil servants too enjoy the services of Government housing?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have written to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry of Finance to avail some funds so that we can put up houses for civil servants in all the more than 250 districts that we have now. In fact, according to the initial estimates, we require about Kshs25 billion to put up adequate houses for departmental heads in all the new districts.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Ministry is not taking any proactive steps to ensure that civil servants are protected from the grabbers of Government houses. In Kisumu, civil servants are being thrown out by the grabbers and yet nothing is happening. The Minister has said that this is happening because the Ministry is selling the non-strategic houses. The offer is very strategic in some of the institutions. What does the Minister mean by selling high grade and low grade houses because they are non- strategic and yet this is causing a lot of suffering to civil servants? What is strategic?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, houses that belong to hospitals are categorised as strategic and, therefore, are not subject for sale. We have advised the civil servants who live in those houses in Kisumu to report any cases of harassment from the grabbers. In fact, the civil servants have been advised not to move out of the Government houses they occupy but have been grabbed. We are still going through the due process of the courts to have the titles issued against those houses cancelled. I advise my friend, the Member of Parliament for Kisumu Town West to advise those civil servants not to succumb to any form of harassment from any grabber.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. It is not for the Member of Parliament to act the way the Minister has advised. Is he willing to put what he is saying in writing so that we can take action?
I can do that, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, could the Minister tell us how much money was realised from the sale of the so-called non-strategic houses in Nairobi? Could he also tell us how affordable and adequate are the houses they want to construct for the civil servants?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the sale of the non-strategic houses realised about Kshs1.2 billion which was used to start the civil servants housing scheme. That scheme has an asset base of about Kshs5 billion and we are putting up more houses using those funds. Right now, about 800 houses are coming up in various parts of the City.
Ms. Chepchumba, ask the final question!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, is it rational to sell houses in Nairobi which are termed to be non-strategic as per the Minister and yet the demand for these houses is high in this City?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the demand is very high. We were trying to create âseed moneyâ for the development of more houses. The money obtained from the sale of 1,200 houses has been used to put up about 800 houses which have already been occupied. Another 800 houses will be ready for occupation by February next year. Finally, another housing project of 2,000 units will commence in Starehe Estate. So, we were trying to use an intervention that will help us put up more Government houses.
Next Question by Mr. Mututho!
asked the Minister for Trade:- (a) whether he could table all the multilateral Trade Agreements in force and state their long and short-term implications to Kenya; (b) whether he could provide a breakdown of all trade tariffs under negotiations, their respective time-frames and net effects to Kenyan farmers; and, (c) what is the status of patents in agriculture affecting pyrethrum, coffee and other industrial crops.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a) There is only one multilateral trade agreement which is administered under the World Trade Organization (WTO) and it covers three main areas of international trade which are mainly the trade in goods, services and trade related aspects of intellectual property right, otherwise known as âTRIPSâ.
The short and long-term implications of these multilateral trade agreements or the sum of all those agreements can only be summarized. If I go through each of the text, I will be on this Floor for the next five years. But, allow me to summarise the broad implications which are mainly:-
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I seek the indulgence of the Chair in this matter because as you can see, those agreements, tariffs and patents form a huge amount of reading. Now that we have the documents, could I be in order to request that the Question is deferred for about a week so that I can have time to, at least, digest it? Even if I peruse through the documents, I will only see international companies. This means that we have already mortgaged our rights on pyrethrum or all these things if they are the ones which are very important. So, could I be in order to request you to defer this Question for seven days so that I can be able to respond appropriately?
Hon. Mututho, your request cannot be granted by the Chair. This is a Question. If you wanted an elaborate, in-depth and participatory debate on this thing, you would have come in another form. You can bring it in form of a Motion, where you will have ample time to interrogate this and do the kind of research that you need to include what you have to study now. The presumption of the Chair is that when you are asking this Question, this is a public document. It is not a document that is only in the domain of the Government. You should have made the efforts to be able to acquaint yourself with the content of it. But nonetheless, the Minister will have to answer it. If you have supplementary questions, you can now ask.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, Ruiru 11 is a variety of coffee that has been exported from Kenya to Rwanda. Pyrethrum is also now being grown in China. They are outdoing our own market. Are we getting any royalties because these are Kenyan products based on patents in force?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, you will appreciate that is a totally different question that I will need to consult with the Ministry of Agriculture in terms of where they are on the Ruiru 11. Also, I would like to consult with them in terms of what agreement there is between Kenya and Rwanda; Kenya and China in terms of the technology transfer before we just reduce it to a commercial transaction.
In the same vein, hon. Minister, we do not trade with a lot of products in this country. We are an agricultural country that exports its tea and coffee. Ideally, as the Minister for Trade, that is the information you should have on your finger tips.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am aware that the exportation of the technology on the Ruiru 11 is part of a technology transfer rather than a sale of Kenya coffee grown under the Ruiru 11 technology. So, we are talking of two different things. The sale of coffee grown under Ruiru 11 technology is part of trade. The use of technology to grow Ruiru 11 seedlings in Rwanda, China and other places is part of technology transfer. It is not a sale of our seedlings. It is not part of trade. It is part of the technology transfer. Those are captured under different regimes.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I hope I will be useful to the Minister to inform him that coffee can be grown even around the Coast Province. But the difference between coffee and coffee is the location under which that coffee is grown. When Ruiru 11 is grown in Rwanda, it will have the taste of that coffee which is the same one in Kenya. That means we have already lost our rights for that particular aspect. All the coffee that we will sell under Kenya, we will have now to pay royalties to Rwanda. The pyrethrum now being grown as a short crop in North China is the same crop that we have here. The net effect of it is that we will now have to pay royalties to China, so that we can sale our pyrethrum. What is the Ministry doing to make sure that all these patents are securely in place? Is the Minister in order to continue responding to this while he admits that he does not have enough ammunition to respond to all these issues?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have clarified the distinction between the aspect of the research and its application in China, Rwanda and all other countries that are growing the same variety of Ruiru 11 as, indeed, other products developed elsewhere are being grown here. That is a totally different thing from trading in the same products. Trading our coffee is my primary concern. Where China sells its coffee, it is their concern. Where Rwanda sells its pyrethrum, it is their concern. My concern is to ensure that we have as much of Kenyan coffee being traded on the international market, and as much of Kenyan pyrethrum being traded on the international market. The sharing of technologies between different countries does not fall under the mandate of the Ministry of Trade. That is why I would have wanted to consult further with the Ministry of Agriculture to see whether there is any agreement in terms of the sharing of the proceeds of sale of products originated here and being grown elsewhere.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the short and long term implication of this is on trade agreements. The main thing that rich countries prevail upon us to do is to open our markets for their goods and services. They have a comparative advantage in producing industrial and agricultural goods whereas Kenya is very efficient in producing children. Could the Minister assure this House that in the next round of trade negotiations, he will press for those developed countries to open up their labour markets, so that our children can go and work there because we are opening our markets for their goods and services?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, indeed, that is what we are pushing for under the current negotiations. At the end of this month, we will be at the next Ministerial meeting looking at this issue. Kenya has been a very active participant in the
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to appreciate the Minister. This is a fairly technical Ministry and I want to thank him for the way he has grasped the issues there. But the concern that we have as Kenyans is that there are many tariff negotiations, particularly in agriculture. What is the capacity of this Government to negotiate? I know for a fact that when we go for the negotiations, and I am a fairly technical man in that area--- Let me not boast here. A country like the USA would send 40 negotiators to negotiate one tariff agreement. But you will find that Kenyan sends very few people, if at all. In fact, we have very few people posted to our embassy in Geneva for the purpose of the World Trade Organization (WTO). I want to ask the Minister whether we have the capacity and whether he has actually put it in the Budget to deliberately develop capacity. Do we have enough people being given scholarship to train in international trade and development? Do we have this facility? Has he thought about this because we do not want our country to continue being disadvantaged? So, where are we in terms of development of capacity?
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. That is a very valid question and concern by the House. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, let me just start by saying that we actually do have limited capacity on the ground, partly because of budgetary constraints and also because of the protracted nature of the negotiations. And it is not a problem that is unique to Kenya; it is a problem that has been shared by all the developing countries. The developed countries have the capacity, the time and the resources and whether it is part of their deliberate way of winning over the negotiations by stretching out our limited resources, but we have taken the route of negotiating together within the African group. Just two weeks back, we had a meeting in Cairo to work out the African position. As I speak here today, there is a meeting going on in Brussels, which is now bringing together all the African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries again to agree together, because our problems are similar and share out our limited capacity by putting it out together so that no single country is actually negotiating individually but negotiating as a bigger group; the developed versus the developing and least developed. For now, that is the most we can do. I do agree there is need to build that capacity and we have been pressing our case to build that capacity and we do hope with the support of this House, we will actually have more funds allocated to develop that capacity for negotiation.
Hon. Mututho, ask your last question!
What is your point of order, Mr. Mungatana?
I am sorry, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, but the Minister has not addressed the Kenyan capacity. Specifically, when we were in class of the international trade and development law at the mastersâ level, none of those people were sponsored by the Government. Has the Minister considered doing this? It is a very direct way of developing capacity for Kenya, because you cannot compare the Kenyan economy with
The Minister said if you vote for sufficient resources, he will be able. But, then, you need to make a firmer undertaking on this one, because it is a serious issue.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, like I said, we are addressing the issue of capacity. We have identified their needs and we are doing it through a series of ways. There is something we are doing as Kenya; there is some capacity we are building at the East African Community; there is some capacity we are building as COMESA; there is some capacity we are building as the African Council of Ministers and there is some capacity we are building at the ACP, so that we have different levels of building that capacity. As Kenya, I believe right now, we have some very competent staff in Geneva who are actually being looked upon by the other countries to help them in the negotiations. So, we are not doing that badly in terms of the capacity, but we need to build a bigger pool of negotiators than the current few that we have. Obviously, the suggestion by the hon. Member will come in handy in the future.
Hon. Mututho, can you ask your last question?
Hon. Member, are you on a point of order or do you want to ask a question?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I want to ask a supplementary question.
You know that this Question has taken too long, but proceed!
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. In part âaâ, the Minister was asked to table all the trade agreements and he has given us only one and yet Kenyans know that among the East African Community countries, we have a trade agreement where, in fact, Kenya has given in serious concessions leading to trade asymmetry between Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and the others â Rwanda and Burundi. Could the Minister tell us the implications of this trade asymmetry that does not favor Kenya, given that now, Uganda has joined Tanzania in Tanzaniaâs reluctance to move towards the Customs Union, which was a reason why Kenya was giving those concessions in the first place?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, just to clarify, there is only one multilateral trade agreement; there is only one â that is the one being administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The agreement the hon. Member is talking about is the bilateral or the regional economic agreements, like we have for the EAC, which basically is captured within the East Africa Customs and Management Act and what will, eventually, in the next two weeks or so, as we launch the Common Market for East Africa--- So, that is a totally different thing. It is, therefore, not just for trade; it is a whole issue of the economic agreements between the East African Community countries and, indeed, the neighbourhood.
But coming to the next point, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not believe â and I want to clarify this - that, one, Tanzania has not been reluctant to join the Customs
That is fair enough! Hon. Mututho, can you ask your last supplementary question on this issue? In the meantime, I think, Mr. Minister, it would be fair that you also honor your undertaking that you are going to liaise with the Ministry of Agriculture on the issue of the concern that was raised by hon. Mututho for the benefit of the House.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. The patent that you have given us; 125 which, I believe, you are the one who may have granted or if you were still in office in 2008, is to accompany in the USA, in the document that you have tabled and this is to do with insecticidal formulations. There is also 237, which is also having the same effect and it is just 2007. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, can he confirm that these two particularly do not touch on the already existing patents which are in the process of being prepared by the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya (PBK) and that we have not lost the patent of pyrethrum through these two patents?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, based on the information I have, I can confirm.
Next Question--- Hon. Questioner, I understand that the Minister has indicated that he will not be in today to answer the Question and that he has communicated the same. There seems to be an understanding between you both. Can you confirm that?
Yes, indeed, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I can confirm that the Question will be answered on Thursday, next week. But I just want the Minister and the Government to be aware that there is no High Court in North Eastern Province. The answer he had given---
Under the circumstances, the Chair directs that the Question appears on the Order Paper on Thursday afternoon, next week!
Let us go back to the first Question!
Order! Order, Dr, Machage! Order! Hold your horse, Dr. Machage! Question No. 280; hon. Ombui!
Is hon. Ombui out of the country on parliamentary business by any chance? It is not to the knowledge of the Chair. The Question is dropped!
I thought I saw hon. Mbugua?
Yes, he was here!
He has decided not to ask the Question? Does he know the consequences of not asking a Question after having a Question appear on the Order Paper
Order! Order! It has been brought to my attention--- You should have stood in your place and indicated the same! I am told that hon. Ombui is out of the country on official parliamentary Business in Singapore. For that reason, Question No. 280 is deferred to a date when he will be around himself. And I hope the Minister takes note of that!
Next is Question 454 by Mr. Mbugua! There is a relevant Standing Order that will help me give a ruling on the matter of Question No.454
Hon. Members, Standing Order No.46 clearly states: âIt shall be disorderly conduct for a Member to fail to ask or for a Minister to fail to answer a Question listed on the Order Paper without the leave of the Speaker.â
Actually, he was here. Under the circumstances, the Chair will meditate and decide on what action to take against the said hon. Member. The decision will be communicated from the Chair. In the meantime, we will proceed to Question 196 by Jeremiah Kioni.
Indeed, there is communication with us that the Minister and the Assistant Minister will both be out. It is not, therefore, the mistake of hon. Kioni for this Question not to be asked today because this information has been communicated to him. Under the circumstances, this Question is deferred to a date when the Minister will be in a position to answer it.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to seek two Ministerial Statements. I seek the first one from the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance on the circumstances surrounding the Freezing of 11 bank accounts at Crown Agency Bank in London on 23rd October, 2009 following a court order.
In that Statement, I would wish the Minister to respond to the following clarifications: How much money is held in these bank accounts? For what purposes did the Government put that money there? Which companies have taken the Government to court? Why did they find it necessary to go to court? I would also like him to reassure the country that the Kenyan High Commission in London will not be threatened by any such court action(s) emanating from these cases.
Can you make an undertaking, Mr. Ojode?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I undertake to inform the respective Ministers. The Statements will be ready on Thursday, next week.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I promised on Tuesday, this week, that I would be issuing a Statement which was sought by hon. Mungatana. We have since agreed with him that I issue this Statement next week on Thursday.
Hon. Mungatana, is that the state of affairs between yourselves?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I confirm that it was supposed to be Tuesday, next week because the Government Ministers should be back by Monday, next week. I thought it was to be given on Tuesday.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I wanted to issue the Statement on Thursday, next week because I will be out of the country. If he wants it issued on Tuesday, whether I am in or not, then, that is fair enough. I do not have any problem with that. I will be out of the country until Thursday, next week.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I am just seeking clarification on the issue of a Member and a Minister agreeing. I thought when a Member seeks a Ministerial Statement and the Minister undertakes to issue the Statement, it is to the House and not to the person who sought the Statement. Therefore, it is not for the two of them to determine whether it should be changed!
Mr. Imanyara, it is understandable, but it is also the tradition of the House that the indulgence of the Chair is sought. It is presumed that the hon. Member really wants the Statement. The Assistant Minister is willing, but there is an understanding between them that, essentially, the Assistant Minister should be given more time. There is some leeway and it is nothing out of the tradition. However, as you put it, this is the property of the House and it is important that Ministers take this with all the seriousness that it deserves. Under the circumstances, it is directed that the Statement be issued on Thursday, next week.
Hon. Affey, you were on the Floor. You have 16 minutes to conclude your contribution.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, yesterday, as I was contributing to this Sessional Paper, I said that it is critical that we fast-truck it. I thank the Government for thinking about it. I said that this policy ought to have been in place a long time ago.
The senior citizens of this country, to whom this national policy will accrue benefits, are an important component of our society. We are lagging behind in this region in this regard. Quite a number of countries in the East African region and beyond have already developed this kind of policy. I happen to belong to the Departmental Committee on Equal Opportunities and I hope that the Minister will give us an opportunity to consult with them before the Bill is brought before the House. Through this House, I would like to urge those Kenyans who want to inform the Bill in a positive way to write to Parliament and seek audience with us so that we can empower it. The idea behind this Bill is to help the elderly in our society.
Officials from Rwanda, a country which has just emerged from the effects of genocide, came to Kenya and, in fact, visited the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) to determine how it works. They have gone a step further than us by giving a universal health cover to all Citizens in that country. That is matter we are still grappling with in this country.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is sometimes painful for a country like ours in this region, which is expected to play a leading role in most of these activities, to begin to learn from countries that have just emerged from civil wars and difficulties associated with conflict. So, I wish the Minister could also invite his counterpart in Rwanda to understand how they have done it successfully there. Rwanda is a case study to look at very carefully. On the issue of the age bracket, even though it is universally accepted that the entry point is 60 years, in Kenya, we have people who retire at the age of 60 years. It is imagined that at the age of 60 years, one is still strong. So, there is a kind of contradiction in this case. Initially, the retirement age in Kenya was 55 years but the Government has since reviewed it to 60 years. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, in this Policy Paper, the Minister is saying that if you reach 60 years you are old, and that you cannot work and yet the Government has pushed the retirement age to the level of people who are supposed to benefit from this kind of scheme. So, it looks like there is some contradiction. However, I wish that the Government fast-tracks this policy and brings a Bill for this House for discussion because the elderly people in society have got substantial challenges. I hope that as the Ministry brings the Bill to Parliament, it will undertake a study in all the provinces in the country and do a mapping of the actual number of older people above the age of 60 years. We need to have that data through the Ministry of Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, so that as we discuss the Bill, we will be able to understand what number of the Kenyan citizenry we are talking about. We need to
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to also contribute a little bit to the National Policy on Older persons and Aging. I want to thank the Minister and join those who have congratulated her for bringing this policy to the Floor of the House at this time. I want to agree with those who have said that this policy ought to have come to Parliament a little earlier because the population of Kenya is aging. More people are growing older and it is like we have not been prepared to take care of them. The strength of any society is judged by how well it takes care of its most vulnerable segment. The older people in our society are amongst the vulnerable segment. I want to thank the Minister because she has particularly specified the Ministry of Medical Services on page 10 of this Policy Paper, even though the relevant paragraph does not really say much. So, I would just propose a bit of enrichment to this paragraph. When I used to serve in that Ministry, we had specific policies that were children- friendly, including the policy of free immunization of children, and free treatment of malaria for children under the age of six years, amongst other policies that helped and
Mr. Temporary Deputy, Sir, I want to support this National Policy on Older Persons and Aging. I am speaking after my former Assistant Minister, Mr. Mungatana, who has made a wonderful contribution which I listened to while coming in here. I have come specifically to speak on chapter three of the National Policy on Older Persons and Aging, related to health and active life. This is really the first time that the Government is coming out very explicitly to support old persons in a policy document that I hope will be reduced into law to guarantee old persons proper healthcare and services. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you look at all insurance companies in this country, except for the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), you will realize that most of them will not cover an individual if he or she is not working in paid employment once he or she is over 70 years old. If you went and sought to take up an insurance policy, you will find that it is so expensive that it becomes counter-productive to be insured, if at all an insurance company is willing to give it. This means that when old people are admitted to hospitals, the bills that they pay are prohibitive.
Thank you very much, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I, too, beg to support this Motion. I think this is a very noble policy and one that deserves our full support. Every once in a while, my mind goes back to words spoken by the former President of Zambia. He came to Kenya after retiring and I remember an interview by one of the newspapers. He was asked what was the one thing that he regretted, that given another chance, he would have done differently. He said: âThe one mistake that I made in Zambia as President was, instead of subsidizing production, I had a policy of subsidizing consumption.â What does that tell us? It tells us that it is important to take care of the old and young and also have a very clear social policy to support those that are vulnerable. But it is even more important, as a country, to make sure that we invest even more in production and not merely in anything that looks like consumption. So, if we are to do these noble things that we want to do, I think it is very important to come back to Vision 2030 and ask ourselves the pillars that underpin it. Regrettably, that Vision is yet to come to this House although we have asked elsewhere that it be discussed here and owned by this House. I am not sure to what extent it is owned by the Kenyan people or whether Vision 2030 is merely a document of the Executive. So, it is very important to interrogate and own the pillars of Vision 2030, so that we agree together as a country on the kind of economy we want and what will drive it. It will mean that we invest in the youth even more aggressively than we are doing. This is because this same youth will be old people tomorrow. It is these youth who, through their hard work and investments, will be able to provide the national wealth that will look after them after they are 60 years old and above. It will be necessary not only to make sure that our economy is on a solid footing, but also as we all know it is even more crucial or equally important that we sort out our politics. That as we know, is the burden of Agenda Four. I do not know how much we will be able to give the required careful attention to this very important Agenda Four. I do not know whether we will rush through it and not give it the sort of approach that we ought, so that we can lay the foundations that begin to heal this nation, bring it together, reconcile our people with each other and come up with structures through the Constitution, of organs of Government that are not going to become the burden that the current organs are. We need organs, institutions and agencies of state that are functional, viable, affordable and lend themselves to efficient management of the resources of this great nation. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is going to be very crucial even as we support this Motion to make sure that the decisions and weighty matters that lie ahead of us as a nation and, especially as the National Assembly; the issues of the Constitution, Land Policy and all the other weighty matters are given fair and serious attention, and as much as possible, so that we look at the future of this country in a manner that is more responsible. If we do not sort out the politics and come up with laws that will assist this country, land policies and other policies that we want to see, it will be very difficult to have the foundations that make it possible for us as a country to support the older people. If we cannot even provide jobs for the young people, how are we going to be able to support the older persons?
Mr. Assistant Minister, I do not see anybody else wanting to contribute. Would you like to respond?
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I would like to thank my fellow hon. Members for their positive response and support which was exhibited when I moved the Motion on the Sessional Paper No.2 of 2009 on Older Persons and Aging. I am grateful for the various comments and suggestions that hon. Members brought up for the purpose of improving the policy on older persons. For example, that older persons be exempted from NHIF contributions and that, homes for older persons and the aging and, all their facilities are taken into consideration instead of cash handouts. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, my Ministry will hold consultations with the relevant authorities to find the best way of addressing these issues. I also take note of the desire by the Committee on Equal Opportunities to meet my Ministry for further consultations before the anticipated Bill on Older Persons and Aging is brought to the House. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, the above are just but few examples of the contributions that my colleagues have made and I undertake to take these issues and many others which I have not mentioned individually here into consideration in the said
Hon. Members, on that note, there being no other business, it is now time for the interruption of these proceedings. Therefore, this House stands adjourned until Tuesday, the 17th of November, 2009, at 2.30 p.m.
The House rose at 4.45 p.m.