Hon. Members, pursuant to Standing Order No.42, I wish to convey the following Message from His Excellency the President: The Message was submitted by way of a letter addressed to my office for submission to the House. The President conveys that, in exercise of powers conferred to him by Section 8 of the Teachers Service Commission Act, 2012, he nominates Dr. Lydia N. Nzomo, PhD; to be the Chairperson of the Teachers Service Commission. His Excellency the President, therefore, seeks the approval of the nominee by this House for appointment to the aforementioned position. Hon. Members, Standing Order No.45 requires that upon receipt of notification of nomination for appointments, such nominations shall stand committed to the relevant Departmental Committee of the House for consideration. Pursuant to the provisions of the said Standing Order, therefore; and paragraph 3 of Standing Order No.42, regarding Messages from the President, I hereby refer the Message from the President to the Departmental Committee on Education, Research and Technology to undertake the necessary approval hearings. Hon. Members, Section 8 of the Teachers Service Act, 2012 requires the National Assembly to either approve or reject the nominee to the position within 21 days. In this regard, I wish to guide the Committee and the House as follows:- 1. The Committee should notify the nominee and the general public of the time and place for holding the approval hearings in good time. The notification should, therefore, be made on 30th October, 2014. 2. The Committee may thereafter commence the necessary approval hearings from 6th November, 2014 and submit their Report to this House on or before 13th November, 2014. Thank you, hon. Members.
Hon. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order No.225(2)(a), I wish to present a Petition by the residents of Chuka/Igambang'ombe Constituency on erection of bumps and road signs on Mate Road in Kathuana Township. Hon. Speaker, I, Onesmas Muthomi Njuki, the Member of Parliament for Chuka/Igambang’ombe Constituency, on behalf of the undersigned citizens of Kenya, who are residents of Chuka/Igambang’ombe Constituency, draw the attention of the House to the following: Noting that road transport is the most popular mode of transport in Kenya, and has contributed immensely to the economic development in both the rural and urban centres; Aware that the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution classifies roads under the pundits of the national Government and the county governments; Noting that the construction of Mate Road in Chuka/Igambang’ombe Constituency has been ongoing for the last three years, and no road signs or bumps have been erected either on permanent or temporary basis to control and regulate speed among motorists and pedestrians; Further aware that the road passes through the busy markets of Kathuana and Kareni, and residential areas where many business transactions happen on a daily basis thereby attracting heavy human traffic; Noting that a number of accidents have occurred on the said road, leading to loss of lives and serious injuries thus sparking demonstrations among the residents of the area; Cognizant of the fact that the road in question is under the mandate of the Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA), who have made no effort to ensure that bumps and road signs are put in place to contain speed and regulate motorists despite the ongoing construction work, and noting that the contractor has made no effort to ensure the same; and, Noting that whereas the road is still under construction, continued loss of lives and injuries must be contained by providing the necessary facilities, your humble petitioners pray that the Parliamentary Committee on Transport, Public Works and Housing compels the contractor and KENHA to erect bumps and road signs with immediate effect to avert continued loss of lives and injuries. Hon. Speaker, your petitioners will every pray.
Hon. Speaker, I beg to lay the following Papers on the Table of the House:- The Annual Report of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission for the period ended 2012/2013 and the certificate of the Auditor-General therein. The Annual Report and Financial Statements of the University of Nairobi for the ended 30th June, 2013 and the certificate of the Auditor-General therein. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
The Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements of Kenya Education Management Institute for the year ended 30th June, 2013 and the certificate of the Auditor-General therein The Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements of Kenya Industrial Property Institute for the year ended 30th June, 2013 and the certificate of the Auditor-General therein The Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements of Kenya Bureau of Standards for the year ended 30th June, 2013 and the certificate of the Auditor-General therein. The Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements of the Labour Party of Kenya for the year ended 30th June, 2011 and the certificate of the Auditor- General therein The Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements of Kenya National Examinations Council for the year ended 30th June, 2013 and the certificate of the Auditor-General therein. The Report of the Auditor-General on the Financial Statements of Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists Board for the year ended 30th June, 2013 and the certificate of the Auditor-General therein. The Annual Report and Financial Statements of the Media Council of Kenya for the year ended 30th June, 2012 and the certificate of the Auditor-General therein. The Annual Report and Financial Statements of Kenya Investments Authority for the year ended 30th June, 2013 and the certificate of the Auditor-General therein.
Thank you, hon. Speaker.
Hon. Speaker, I beg to give notice of the following Motion:- THAT, aware that an increasing number of women in Kenya are moving away from traditional work burdens and entering new forms of self-and-paid employment in the private and public sectors; noting that these activities require women to work for long hours and far from home, leaving their children with inadequate care; further aware that to date no single employer in Kenya has child care services for its women employees at the place of work; deeply concerned that there is no regulatory system for child handlers and existing child care centres; noting further that there are no regulations to govern the operations of day care centres or the fact that most children leave such centres with new behaviour and problems like indiscipline, errantry and aggression, this House urges the Government to review the regulations on child day care facilities to certify The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
child care workers and ensure that passage of bad behaviour to young children is curbed.
Hon. Speaker, I beg to give notice of the following Motion:- THAT, aware that Articles 43(1)(a) and 43(2) of the Constitution provide for the rights to the highest attainable standards of health for every person; further aware that emergency healthcare is an important component of standard health services; concerned that many lives continue to be lost due to lack of adequate emergency healthcare and poor response to emergencies in the country; noting that only 13 per cent of public health facilities in the country have basic components to support emergency cases; deeply concerned that emergency patients are exposed to untrained personnel and/or good samaritans, who in most cases worsen the situation; cognizant of the need for the country to have a well co- ordinated emergency care system, this House resolves that the Government immediately develops and implements a national curriculum for emergency training of all medical personnel in the country.
Thank you, hon. Speaker.
Hon. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order No.33(1) I wish to seek leave to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a matter concerning the violation of human rights of domestic workers, who have sought employment and other economic advancement opportunity in foreign countries, particularly in the Middle East.
Hon. Speaker, there have been numerous cases of human rights being blatantly violated during the tenure of the employment of domestic workers in the Middle East, contrary to entitlement of persons to fair labour relations and prohibition of subjection of persons to servitude and forced labour as entrenched in Article 30 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 and Article 4 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Scores of domestic workers continue to be gravely mistreated and some even allegedly killed by their employers. Regrettably, there has been a glaring silence and inaction by both State and non-State actors to effectively curb these violations.
Therefore, I wish to urge the Government to urgently create a framework to guide the recruitment and terms of employment for domestic workers abroad; scrutinise the recruiting agencies allegedly engaging in human trafficking under the guise of The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
employment despite the ban put in place by the Ministry of Labour, Social Secuity and Services; establish a database of all Kenyans engaged as domestic workers outside the country, facilitate evacuation and repatriation of all domestic workers desperately seeking to disentangle themselves from the shackles of untold suffering in the hands of their employers as well as rehabilitate traumatised workers who have been rescued. Thank you, hon. Speaker.
Do you have the necessary support?
She has more than enough support!
Fine, hon. Members; you may resume your seats. Hon. Members, I direct that the House will be moved to adjourn at exactly 5.30 p.m. today for the purpose of debating this matter. Next Order!
Hon. Members, I wish to, first of all, commend the House and, indeed, the membership that stayed here for many hours yesterday to consider this Bill in the Committee of the whole House. It was a good example to those who do not know what a Committee of the whole House is. First of all, what is the composition of the Committee of the whole House? It is the entire House sitting in a Committee, which then reports to the plenary, as a House. That is just for the education of those out there who may wish to understand how business is transacted here. Indeed, I wish to commend hon. Members, more particularly the Committee that shepherded this Bill.
Hon. Members, what remains is for me to put the question.
Hon. Speaker, I beg to move the following Motion:- THAT, this House adopts the Report of the Committee on Regional Integration on the Protocol for the Establishment of the East African Community Monetary Union tabled in the House on Tuesday, 21st October, 2014.
Hon. Speaker, the Committee received a memorandum that was presented by the Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury, and the Cabinet Secretary for Commerce, Tourism and East Africa Region. It was presented to the House on 22nd July, 2014 for consideration and ratification, pursuant to Section 8 of the Treaty Making and Ratification Act, 2014, and the Constitution of Kenya. The Cabinet Memorandum and the Protocol are annexed to this Report.
Various stakeholders appeared before the Committee during the discussion of the Cabinet Memorandum and the Protocol. They included the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and East Africa Region, the State Law Office, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the National Treasury, the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), and the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research (KIPPRA).
Hon. Speaker, the background that I am going to give to this House relating to the East African Community Monetary Union Protocol is set out on page six of the Report. In this Report, you will find that this is one of the pillars that were established by the East African Community, the first pillar being the Customs Union, and the second pillar being the Common Market. The subsequent pillar is the Monetary Union that we are discussing today. We ultimately expect the establishment of a political federation in the East Africa, under Article 5(2) of the Treaty. Upon ratification of this protocol, we are going to establish a super natural bank, which is going to manage currencies within the EAC. The common currency then will require the efforts of the economist in order to move forward after the convergence in a bid to absorb any economic shock from the partner State. We are going to give this Protocol ten years. It is going to happen neither within one day nor within one year. It is going to happen within ten years. I would like to point out to the House particulars by KIPPRA. When KIPPRA appeared before the Committee, their feeling was that we should not proceed with ratification of the Community’s Monetary Union; rather we should have a political federation or a political union first. They stated that there was the original sin which, according to them, was committed by the European Union (EU) when the European countries came together and formed a currency union. They also said that the sovereign debt crisis that was there in the EU affected Greece, which was one of the countries that had to bear the brunt of it in the late 2009. ` Hon. Speaker, when the National Treasury, through Mr. Nyamunga, appeared before us, they stated that all the implications, or the effects of this currency were taken care of by the negotiators and, therefore, there would not be an issue that Kenya, which is normally seen as a big brother, would be affected by any economic shock. We also noted the fact that the State Law Office had looked at the protocol and they were in agreement with the Committee that such laws, once they are amended, will not interfere with the normal situation, as it were. I will, therefore, indicate to the House the observations of the Committee. The Committee examined the presentations made by the stakeholders and made the following The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
observations on the Protocol for the establishment of the East African Community Monetary Union: One, the Committee noted the various benefits of establishing the East African Community Monetary Union. It said that it will provide benefits for the region’s economies such as an enhanced trade and investment, increased efficiency and wider market, the ease of price comparability and it is also a symbol of integration. One of the things we noted is that much as the various stakeholders had indicated that sensitization had been done at a wider level, that sensitization had not been done in as far as the Protocol was concerned, and if it was done, then it was not done adequately. Much more needs to be done within the ten-year period, so that East Africans get to understand and appreciate why we are moving towards the third pillar. The other issue noted is that the EAC partner States have not implemented fully the first two pillars of integration, that is, the common market and the customs union protocols. Considering that the integration process is a phased process, it will be important to ensure that the first two pillars are fully implemented before moving into the monetary union. This is because the treaty expressly states that the first two pillars must be fully implemented before we move to the third pillar, which we are seeking to ratify. What we are saying is that within the ten-year period the first two pillars must be fully implemented, so that we can have a common currency. We also talked about the legal implications and the Committee observed that the ratification of the East African Monetary Union Protocol will make it possible for the amendment of the Constitution of Kenya, the various financial laws and regulations to be in tandem with the Protocol. This will require the relevant State agencies to identify laws early enough to enable Parliament to carry out its legislation mandate. The Committee further observed that Parliament will not lose its constitutional mandate of budget-making with ratification of the Protocol. We also noted with concern that, the ratification process was hurried and, as a result, the Cabinet Memorandum forwarding the Protocol to Parliament was categorical that there is no room for reservations in ratification to the Protocol. This is against provisions of Section 8 (4) of the Treaty Making and Ratification Act, 2012. This explains why in our Committee recommendations we have dealt with the issue of inadequate time, lack of enough involvement of the Committee and Parliament in participation, so that we are able to make any reservations, recommendations or amendments, as it were. I will now read the Committee recommendations. Having considered the Protocol, examined the presentations from various stakeholders and pursuant to Section 8(4) of the Treaty Making and Ratification Act, the Committee recommends as follows: The House ratifies the Protocol for the establishment of East African Community Monetary Union. The Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and East Africa Region, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the National Treasury, Parliament and all the implementing agencies should aggressively sensitize the public on the provisions of the Protocol in line with the tendency of people-centered integration process. Consequently, the National Treasury and Parliament should allocate adequate resources to the implementing agencies to facilitate adequate public sensitization. The Executive should fully involve Parliament from conception to ratification process of all the region integration instruments. This will mitigate against instances The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
where reservations may be introduced during ratification process by the House. The Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and East Africa Region, the Attorney General and all implementing agencies should expeditiously identify the legal reforms to be undertaken to facilitate proper and timely implementation of the Protocol. All partner States should fully implement the first two pillars of integration, that is the Customs Union and the Common Market Protocol as contained in the integration road map before moving into the third pillar, which is the monetary union. In conclusion, the Committee is convinced that the Protocol for Establishment of East African Community Monetary Union will be beneficial to the economies of individual partner States of the EAC and, therefore, it recommends that the House ratifies the Protocol. All the other East African Countries have already ratified this Protocol. Kenya is the only EAC partner State that has not ratified. This means that the other countries can move forward and once the ten-year period is over and we do not ratify the significance will be--- Under Article 18, the Protocol allows the partner States to move on and form a single currency union. If Kenya is locked out, it will mean we are not going to enjoy the benefits of enhanced trade, and the symbol of integration that has been key in our process will be lost within the EAC. We are also hoping that as we ratify the Protocol, as a country, we are going to bid to host the East African Central Bank. If we are going to set up the East Africa Monetary Institute in Kenya, which we believe is going to translate into the East Africa Central Bank, out of the five institutions that we are going to set up through this Protocol, we will end up hosting two of them. Then, Kenya as a country, will be better placed in terms of trade and negotiations as far as this Protocol is concerned. For seamless and flawless transition to the East African Monetary Union, Kenya and the other partner States should endeavour to meet their obligations and fully implement the first two pillars of the integration process, namely the Customs Union and the Common Market Protocol. I, therefore, pray that this Report be ratified and adopted by this House today. I request with humility my colleague, hon. Wangwe, to second this Motion.
Do you move and then request?
Hon. Speaker, I beg to move and request hon. Wangwe to second the Motion. Thank you, hon. Speaker, for that.
Hon. Emmanuel Wangwe.
Thank you, hon. Speaker. I rise to second the adoption of the Report of the Regional Integration Committee on the establishment of the East African Monetary Union. As you have been made aware by the Chair, I am a Member of this Committee. I participated in the formulation of the Report. In summary, the benefits the Report is bringing to Kenyans are so immense that we cannot afford to miss them. I just want to mention one issue that is very pertinent in this Report. It is the population that it will bring together in terms of what has been achieved from the East African Customs Union and the East African Common Market Protocol. It will bring on board a population of over 120 million people. As you can recall, the cardinal principle in growing an economy is to step up consumption. Once you have taken cognizance of the consumption by the people, you can now set up various industries. You can now meet the payment procedures and set up all kinds of policies that will make the economy prosper. When you look at the Report, it The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
has taken cognizance of two major things. There is the issue of the monetary convergence and fiscal convergence. If it takes ten years from now to come up with the full implementation of the Monetary Union and a single currency, this means that Kenya will no longer rely on one central bank, but will have to bring on board the entire economy and make both monetary and fiscal policies for the entire region. Once this is possible, it is going to make the economy very vibrant and make consumption of the people stimulate demand. I also want to take cognizance of the infrastructure development that is going to come along with it. The integration process between Kenya and the East African partner States is going to link the five partner States. When you look at the LAPSSET project, the Northern Corridor and the growth of airports like Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, we can only bring them together and meet the demand if we integrate and have a common currency. It is going to be beneficial because somebody from Burundi will not need to change currency, so as to enjoy facilities in Kenya. At the same time, we have localized and Kenyan goods can go to Burundi and we do the same. This is a very nice idea. I would request that this House adopts and accepts the Report as it is. I beg to second.
Hon. David Ochieng.
Thank you, hon. Speaker. I also rise to support this very important Motion and the Report as presented by my Chair. This is once again a milestone in the development of the East African Community ( EAC) as an institution. The world is moving towards converging economies to ensure that markets are able to function without small aberrations like foreign exchange and things that could be handled easily by the partner States if they come together and agree. As I support this Report, I want to request Members that wherever they come from in this country, what we need to do to make the East Africa Community work, is that Members should take this particular initiative just as they take other duties they carry out as Members of Parliament by ensuring their constituents know about the EAC, the benefits thereof and what it portends for them. As I speak, you may be aware that two months ago there was a very divisive referendum somewhere in Europe, where the Scotts were seeking to move away. One of the appeals that were being made by the British was that they were better together – they were better off united. In the whole framework, Great Britain, or the UK, has never joined the European Monetary Union for very serious reasons. As we ratify this Protocol, it is important for Kenya to ensure that in the next 20 years, the country is prepared economically. We must ensure that we carry out the necessary institutional, fiscal and policy reforms that will make movement from the common market into the monetary union easy, seamless, and above all carry the public along. There is a fallacy that has been bandied around that Kenya is a strong economy and can absorb many shocks. Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi are almost at the same level in terms of economic and fiscal development. Any hope that Kenya can absorb shocks like German did for Greece is misplaced. As a country, we must The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
understand this. We must agree that we are limping like everybody else. There is this fallacy that in the EAC framework, Kenya will benefit more than the others. If you look at the figures, we now know that Uganda has benefited more than Kenya. Tanzania now trades more with us than any other country. So, the benefits that this country could get from the EAC framework are being foregone because we have not involved the public. We have not undertaken the necessary reforms to ensure that our people benefit. Hon. Speaker, a couple of things have happened in this country and in this Parliament since you became the Speaker, and we became Members of Parliament that are worth noting. One, for example, is that we have made laws in this Parliament that were meant to make doing business easier. A Monetary Union can never work well if doing business is still difficult. As we move forward into the Union, I would urge the Government of Kenya to ensure that laws and policies that are required are harmonized early enough. Our benefiting in this framework will only depend on our knowledge of areas that are beneficial to our people. We need to know the areas that will not give us benefits, so that we can move into those areas early enough to ensure this happens. One concern that I would like to raise even as we ratify this Protocol is the involvement of politicians in the process. You sit in the ACP/ EAC Caucus and you know that in other areas before countries move into particular processes, politicians are involved very intensely and not at the end of the process, where someone brings a protocol telling you to ratify and, please, do not make any reservations because we know this works this way. Let Parliament be involved early enough because it is only through Parliament that the public will know what is happening and they will benefit. If you go to Busia today or Namanga, you will cross the border using your National Identity Card. Kenyan citizens and even some Members of Parliament here still go to pick passports to travel to Uganda and Tanzania because they do not know that they can travel using the National Identity Card. Therefore, it is our duty to let the public know the benefits we get in this union and allow them time to prepare. Hon. Speaker, as we go to monetary union, one thing that is going to grow is the service industry. Europe has decided to outsource producing products which they never used to do. They are now into banking, insurance and financial services. Monetary union requires that kind of framework so that the Government of Kenya should now move towards ensuring that the service industry grows as we move towards this monetary union. Hon. Speaker, as I finish, the period given to us, the time we are hoping that we will move to this monetary union is 2030. During the Committee deliberations, we argued with technocrats and our feeling was that this period could be short. The monetary union that we have in the world today is the European Union which has taken a very long time. In fact, when the opinion was sought in this negotiation, they said that EAC is moving very fast. That they do not think these 10 or 15 years will be enough for us to move to that level. However, in my view, the level of ambition by the President is quite encouraging. If that political will can be transferred to this House so that we walk together in this, then by the time we get to 2030, we will be near there and our citizens can benefit from the The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
regional union. This will only happen if the whole continuum of the common market and the customs union is implemented early enough. Hon. Speaker, I conclude by thanking the President and the Cabinet Secretaries concerned for putting energy and prioritising on issues of regional integration. But I warn that let this stage of monetary union be the last one we are rushing. Issues of political federation should wait until 2100. Thank you, hon. Speaker. I support.
Time now is for the former Member of East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), the Member now for Turkana North, hon. Christopher Nakuleu.
Thank you, hon. Speaker. I wish to take from where my Chairman has just left. I happen to be the Vice Chairman of that Committee and, therefore, I have given a lot of institutional memory to the Report. I will be better placed to also give a highlight of the Report. Hon. Speaker, EAC Monetary Union is the fourth stage of economic integration after the Common Market Protocol. Therefore, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda adopted the principle of variable geometry through the coalition of the willing members; where some members of the community were not ready to move into this stage of integration. They felt that if they engaged themselves at this point in time, they would be at a disadvantaged stage. However, the treaty envisages a situation where members who are ready to move forward can do so and the rest will join later. Therefore, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi are purely within the precincts of the treaty. Kenya stands to benefit a lot out of the ratification of this protocol. The use of common currency will eliminate incidences of exchange rate parities where; if a Kenyan moves to Rwanda, he or she does not need to change the Kenyan currency into the dollar then from the dollar to the Rwandan Francs. With the adoption of the Monetary Union, the issue of changing money from one currency to another will be eliminated because we will be using one currency across the region. Hon. Speaker, in an attempt to actualise this, member states have to organise their economies in such a way that they all bend towards a common micro-economic convergence. With this, we will be able to predict the economic growth of each and every country through economic parameters that are in place. Therefore, Kenya being a member of the coalition of the willing, through the principle of variable geometry, should therefore harmonise the principal laws of this country to be in tandem with the provisions of the treaty, so that we do not get stifled as we try to operationalise the treaty. Hon. Speaker, with establishment of various institutions mentioned by the Chairman, for instance, the monetary institute, Central Bank and Bureau of Statistics, Kenya stands to host most of these institutions because of its placement in the region as an economic hub. Therefore, this Parliament should give the President the support he requires to steer the East African Community to greater heights in order to achieve the required integration aspirations. Hon. Speaker, also we had an analysis and comparison of various global monetary unions. We have looked at the European Union Monetary Union, the ECOWAS Monetary Union and we compared them with the East African Monetary Union. We The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
realised that the East African Monetary Union is likely to take off very fast and with little barriers because of the customs and the level of interaction of the people of East Africa. Kenya and Tanzania have the Maasai community. So, there is a lot of cross- cultural interaction in the East African Region. Therefore, the actualising and operationalisation of some sections of the East African Treaty will be very easy just because of the commonality that exists in the East African Community. Finally, every country would want to see its economy and trade increase. At the second inception of the East African Community in 1999, when the three Heads of State came together, there was fear from some sections of the Community that coming together again would have a serious effect on the economies of these countries. However, five years later, there was a realisation that each country had benefited a lot in terms of trade volumes. Most of the countries that had balance of trade deficits initially realised balance of trade surpluses. Therefore, this issue of the East African integration process is an issue that every part of this continent should embrace. I urge this Assembly to adopt this Report. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
I just want to remind hon. Members that your resolution as a House under Standing Order No. 97 is that, on a Motion such as this Report to the House, the Mover is limited to 60 minutes in moving and 30 minutes in replying, and every other member speaking is limited to 10 minutes, except the Leader of Majority Party and the Leader of Minority Party who are limited to 15 minutes. Therefore, hon. Members, prepare so that you can, at least, speak for ten minutes. It is not too much, but if you can only speak for three minutes, it is okay also. But try to find time to look at the Report so that you can contribute more. You know Kenyans are watching the proceedings of this House. Hon. Chris Wamalwa, you have the Floor.
Thank you, hon. Speaker. I rise to oppose the Motion. The Mover did not take 30 minutes, having said that he would have taken 60 minutes. Looking at this Report, especially when it comes to the East African Community Monetary Union, I strongly feel that we are not yet ready. I have gone through this document, and I am going to argue out my points. Much as I would have wanted to support the Motion, having gone through the Report and done a cost-benefit analysis, I realise that we will be putting this country at risk. I listened keenly as the Mover initiated this debate. She mentioned issues of comparative analysis that have been done. Unfortunately, the Report showing a comparative analysis does not show the merits and the demerits of establishing a common monetary union. It becomes very difficult for this august House to make a decision on this matter. Under Item 1.7.75 the Report says:- “The East African Monetary Union will have both positive and negative consequences on the economy. However, if mitigating measures are put in place and the protocols are well implemented, the envisaged negative effects will be significantly reduced altogether or eliminated.” When it comes to risk mapping and risk analysis, you need to identify the risks. You must also come up with the specific mitigating strategies you are going to put in place. Looking at this Report, it has not been specific to identify the kind of risks and the The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
mitigating strategies being put in place. In order for mitigating strategies to be put in place successfully, you need a budget. I am anticipating budget deficit. Going further, the Report says that among the benefits that the citizens are likely to enjoy is enhanced trade and investment. Looking at the process of integration, particularly the Common Market Protocol and the Customs Union Protocol, you cannot achieve what is being said in this Report. It also mentions the reduction in foreign exchange risk, which is positively correlated to this aspect. We must go further and ask ourselves; what is the level of foreign exchange risk? It is the US Dollar which is acceptable worldwide. I am happy that the Report indicates that we can borrow a lesson from the European Union. Right now, the United Kingdom (UK) is not part of the European Union (EU). I want to agree with what KIPPRA advised. In order for the common monetary union to succeed, we must first look at the political federation. The biggest challenge that is facing the EU is that of political federation. When it comes to political federation, it is something wider. The first speakers were Members of that particular Committee. I am the first one who is outside the Committee. This is my thinking, and I want the Committee Members to help me, so that we do not rush to make decisions about which we will later on regret. We are also supposed to have had a comparative analysis in terms of trade balance. What is the balance of trade between Kenya and Uganda and between Kenya and Tanzania? The decisions that we make must add value overall as opposed to adding value on a piecemeal basis. The Northern Corridor that we are talking about is specifically about communication infrastructure. As we speak, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan are co-operating. However, our Tanzanian colleagues are still dragging their feet, because they know their level of preparedness. Speaking as a Kenyan in terms of the currencies of the five mentioned countries, Kenya’s currency is the strongest. So, we are likely to benefit more, if we do not go for the common currency protocol. Recently, I attended a Northern Corridor conference in Uganda. I realised that the little money that was given by the Parliament of Kenya for upkeep turned out to be so much money in that country because our currency is very strong as compared to Uganda’s currency. If, today we decide to have a common currency with countries whose currencies are so weak, we will be joining the union from a disadvantaged background. Let us spearhead for the purpose of benefits.
On a point of information!
Hon. Speaker, the hon. Member will have his chance. I am just expressing my views. I am not a Member of the Committee. I went through the Report, and this is what I saw. It has been mentioned that Article 231 of the Constitution---
On a point of information!
I do not want the information. Let me finish what I am saying.
On a point of order!
Order! Order, hon. Members! Hon. Wamalwa does not require your information. You will have your chance to speak. Let him say his bit. Also this issue of you not agreeing with somebody and raising a point of order should not arise. There is no point of order. You will have your chance to give your view.
Thank you, hon. Speaker. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Our Constitution says clearly that we must have complete public participation. I looked at some of the stakeholders, who included--- I was shocked that even the Central Bank of Kenya was not involved in this matter.
It was involved!
Hon. Speaker, I have not seen it in the Report amongst the 12 listed stakeholder institutions that were consulted. I am looking at the Law Society of Kenya, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Office of the Attorney-General and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICIPAK). These are some of the critical institutions that must be involved when dealing with such an issue, so that we can listen to what their take is. This is an issue which should involve a wider consultative approach. The Committee has tried, but I strongly feel that those key stakeholders have not been involved. For example, the academia fraternity, like the University of Nairobi, which is highly ranked in relation to this issue; has not been involved. Have we tried to involve our institutions of higher learning, so that we hear their opinion about this issue? As far as I am concerned, we should not rush. Let us move at the right speed, so that in case we have shortcomings or risks, we are able to overcome them. Looking at the integration process, we are told that the first two pillars, which are very critical to the success of the process, have not yet been fully implemented. Why is it that the Common Market Protocol and the Common Customs Union Protocol have not yet been implemented? To me, implementation of these two critical pillars is a prerequisite for the success of the integration process. We must implement one pillar before we move to the next one. There is no way, in the integration process, we can jump from one pillar to the next one. The integration process must follow a logical flow, which is in series. Unless implementation of one pillar is completed, you cannot move to another pillar. Hon. Speaker, I was looking at the issue of the 10 years. I feel that if we are supposed to wait for 10 years, we should wait for that period to lapse after we have looked at the process of implementing the other integration pillars.
What is your point of order, hon. Rasso?
Hon. Speaker, with the benefit of hindsight, I thought that hon. Wamalwa refused to be informed. The four pillars on which the process of integration is anchored---
No, not information, please. Hon. Members, I want you to read your Standing Orders properly. Points of argument are not necessarily points of order. When you claim to be rising on a point of order, there must be something that you have seen is out of order. What is out of order, from what hon. Wamalwa is saying? We do not need to unnecessarily eat into a Member’s time. Hon. Rasso, if it is information, you will have an opportunity to speak on this Motion. You will have an opportunity to say it splendidly as you always eloquently do.
Hon. Speaker, what I was saying is that the process of integration is a continuum of the various processes.
So, what is out of order? That is information. Please, let us not interrupt each other on account of merely wanting to give information or arguing differently from the Member who is on the Floor. Let everybody say their bit, so that the The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
House can make a decision on the basis of information and knowledge from all of us. I will, therefore, compensate hon. Wamalwa with two minutes, so that you also learn that we should not interrupt a Member. Proceed, hon. Wamalwa!
Thank you, hon. Speaker. On the issue of markets, the Chairperson talked of 120 million people accessing the market. That is a wonderful idea, but does it mean that we must, as a matter of necessity, achieve the common currency union before we can access that market? The answer is “no”. The first two pillars that we have already established; the Customs Union and the Common Market, should enable us to access the 120 million people market that we are talking about. That is a positive aspect that is notable so far, but its realisation is not necessarily dependent on establishment of a common currency. Hon. Speaker, the laws that must be amended for the purpose of a common currency protocol include the Central Bank Act, the Banking Act, the Micro Finance Act, the procurement laws, among others. I have no doubt that in order to amend these many laws, amongst others which are hidden, we will require a national referendum. We must, therefore, look at these issues keenly. We should do a cost-benefit analysis to see if it is really prudent for us to ratify this protocol at the moment, or whether we should wait a little longer as we consult widely, so that we can decide on the matter at a later date.
When the Mover was moving, she said it is only Kenya which is left behind as other partner States have already done the ratification. The answer is very good and the reason is because we have a comparative advantage over them as far as our currency is concerned. Because their currencies are weak, they have moved very quickly because they want to benefit from a common currency. I strongly feel we should look at this thing critically, and look at the proposal that KIPPRA gave. This is a public policy that is in line with all our economic policies. We should look into it; let us involve people. Let us consult further before we come here to make decisions.
They ate into my time. I was told I would be added one minute, but I can see that the red signal is on! I do not know what I should do.
You have been compensated.
I have already been compensated? Thank you hon. Speaker and I oppose unless we go for further consultations and do the risk mapping before we get into this. Let us not rush; let us not put---
Thank you, hon. Speaker. I am not a Member of the Committee. However, I rise to support the Motion. It is, indeed, clear that the world is becoming a global village. I agree with my friend hon. Wakhungu when he says that Kenya has got a comparative advantage. It is, indeed, true that Kenya is the biggest economy in the region. However, when you look at the world over we are building what we call economic blocks, and that is where the world is going. When you look at the report, there are a number of advantages that have been highlighted, one being foreign exchange, which is going to be of immense help to traders; the pooling of resources and the market mobilization. When you look at it critically, the factors of production in economics, like human resource, are of immense importance to the development of any economy. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
When you look at capital as we say, it is going to be of immense help to the region. There is what we call price comparability and symbol of integration. What I have heard from the Chair of the Committee is references to the European Union and the ECOWAS. I concur with hon. Wakhungu when he talks about the United Kingdom (UK)
the EU Monetary Union. In Europe, Germany is the biggest economy and they are the drivers of the EU Monetary Union. When you look at Kenya and what we have in the region, we deserve to drive this monetary union. That is why when the Chair was moving, she talked about establishment of various financial institutions in the long run. We stand at an advantage to help this region establish these institutions, and, probably, host them; therefore I support.
Thank you very much, hon. Speaker, for the opportunity. I rise to support this Report. We must come to the reality and the realization of the direction that modern economies are taking in the world today. It is true that there are challenges in a monetary union, but I can say with confidence that, indeed, the benefits far outweigh the risks of a monetary union in any region of the world that we have so far seen. As I speak, I just want to correct some perception which was created here earlier. This House today is not passing a creation of a monetary union. It is only adopting a report that supports the protocol for establishment of a monetary union. So, there are a lot of other steps towards a common monetary union. That perception must be corrected because we do not want to misinform Kenyans. Indeed, the Committee has done its job diligently; it has strongly recommended that the Customs Union and Common Market Protocol be implemented before we can move into a common monetary union. That I think is a very good direction to go. By the time countries, or a region, achieve a customs union and a common market protocol--- Indeed it means that there will be free movement of goods, capital and people within a region. The only remaining disadvantage then will be that whenever you move your capital or you move your goods to the other country in the region, you will unfortunately have to meet high costs of what we call “transactional costs” as a result of the exchange rates which you have to work with. Earlier speakers mentioned that, indeed, when you want to buy something from Tanzania and you are a Kenyan, you have to change your Kenyan shillings into dollars, your dollars into Tanzanian shillings and then you will be able to buy something. I want to tell my brother, hon. Wakhungu, that when he ended up in Uganda and changed Kenyan shillings to dollars and dollars to Uganda shillings, he probably just saw a big bunch of papers. It is not that he necessarily got more money than he had before. The point I want to make is that, indeed, he met transactional costs in every one of the steps that he took. If only he went with his Kenyan shillings and was able to go into a shop in Uganda, use the same value and buy whatever he wanted to buy; he, probably, would have bought more goods and enjoyed himself more for whatever amount he wanted to use. A monetary union, indeed, encourages, or stimulates, trade between countries. I want to say that the example of the EU is very clear. Germany is the strongest economy in Europe and time and again, we have actually seen it fight very hard to ensure that the Euro continues to survive. The German mark before the union was a very strong currency. One would then wonder why Germany is striving so much to have this monetary union. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Hon. Speaker, Germany continues to grow as an economy because many of the people who joined the Euro are now able to come and buy goods from Germany without having to suffer the transactional costs. For that reason, Germany is now able to increase its trade with countries within the monetary union. Those who say that Kenya is, indeed, a stronger partner in this union should then be the first ones to sign this protocol. Indeed, it is us who have the manufactured goods that need to be bought by the other countries within the region. It is us who have industries that are far advanced than the ones in the region. For that reason, Kenya stands to benefit from this particular union the day we achieve it. The year 2030 is a realistic date. We need to take cautious steps as we move towards this monetary union. The members of the Common Market, who are going to move with us in that direction must have certain things. Number one, in my view, each of the members must adopt an open market strategy. We must have economies that are openly managed and whose currencies are not pegged, but are currencies that are free floating in the market. This will help us to know the true value of the Ugandan Shilling or the Tanzanian Shilling before we say that we have a common unit. All these other currencies will be dissolved. The Kenyan Shilling and the Ugandan Shilling will be dissolved. So, if you who have Ksh100 at the time the currency is dissolved, we want you to get a fair value in comparison to the one who had an equivalent value in money in Uganda.
For that reason, markets need to start opening up. They will also need to have strict rules on the players in terms of economic market management. Look at the United States of America; I just want to take an example and compare it with the European Union. When USA releases the statistics on employment every month, depending on whether it is positive or negative, what happens then is that the dollar either strengthens or weakens in the international market. Similarly, we have seen in the European markets, whenever certain economies within Europe have shown indications of going down, or not properly being managed, for example Greece, the Euro suffers. But Europeans will close ranks quickly to ensure that there is better management in the economies within the Euro zones. So, as we move towards this common currency, discipline in the management of economies is very important. The year 2030 is not very far. We need to start creating strong East Africa foreign reserves. This region needs to pool a lot of foreign currency together. This is because eventually, when your Kenya Shilling is dissolved, you will have to be paid back in the form of another value. Central banks will be the ones to ensure that they take the money that you have and give you equivalent amounts in other currencies. For that reason, some reserves need to be built and economies need to start thinking in that direction. We also need to eliminate mistrust within the region, and be a coalition of the willing. When you want to move into a unitary monetary system, you want to have trust as one of your strongest pillars. We want all the partners, the Tanzanians and the Burundians to come on board fully towards the implementation of the Customs Union and the Common Market Protocols, so that we eliminate mistrust within the economies by the time we come together. I can tell you that by the time we achieve the Customs Union and the other Common Market Protocols, we will almost be there. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Finally, I want to join my colleagues in saying that even as we move towards that direction, respective States must get the necessary political goodwill from their people. The citizens of each of these countries must say yes. In some countries in Europe, they have had to do referendums to join the EU. It is okay to do it. It is okay for a certain government like Kenya or Tanzania to go back to its people and ask: “Shall we join this monetary union?” The advantage of that is that once the people say yes, then you will have full commitment of that country supported by its people. If there are whatever fears that will bring a risk to the union, then they will say “no”. Therefore, those others who will join will have the advantage of having a very healthy monetary union. For that reason, I support this Report.
Hon. Kathuri Murungi.
Thank you, hon. Speaker. I stand to support this Report. From the outset, this East African Monetary Union is modelled on the European Monetary Union. Therefore, a lot of research has already been done and most of the countries in the East Africa Community are satisfied that this model will improve our EAC economy. I would like to note that 28 states in the European Union are in the Monetary Union. A lot of gains have been achieved by the European Monetary Union. Therefore, this is high time for our five East African Community partners to move with speed to ratify all the protocols, so that we can head where other economies are heading. In this era, no country can survive alone. That is why we need to integrate and even to include Sudan. We pray very hard that Sudan will also achieve the fixed threshold, so that it can be a member of the EAC. As some of the hon. Members have hinted, there are benefits and also negative effects to this Union. But the best thing to note is that the positives or benefits outweigh the disadvantages. If you do an economic analysis, you will see that the negatives are very minor. Therefore, it is important to go the other way. One of the issues which are making the hon. Members of this House not to understand the integration process is lack of sensitization. If Members of Parliament do not understand the integration process, the citizens of the East African States are in total darkness. Therefore, a lot needs to be done to sensitize the citizens of the five states, so that they can understand what is happening. If you go to the border of Kenya and Tanzania and ask the residents in Namanga what the East African Community means or the pillars that need to be achieved, not even five out of 100 will understand what is happening. A lot of sensitisation needs to be done. I am a Member of this Committee and this is one of the recommendations that we have made. More money should be given to the line Ministry, so that a lot of sensitization can be done. At this point, Kenya stands to benefit more than any other East African state in this Monetary Union Protocol, if it is achieved. Kenya should now be strategizing beforehand on how to benefit from hosting various institutions that will come in handy when this Protocol is ratified, for example, the East African Central Bank. Because of the position that we are in, in this part of the continent, Kenya should be at a position to lobby other countries like Rwanda and Burundi, so that we can host some of the key institutions that will come after the ratification of this Protocol. One worrying trend is that some of the countries which have ran so fast to ratify what we are trying to do today, like Tanzania, are lagging behind in these two other pillars, namely, the Customs Union and Common Market Protocol. You will realise that The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
because they know that they will also benefit by having the East African Monetary Union Protocol, they ratified this a long time ago. We have a better and stronger economy than these other states. We should go ahead and ratify this Protocol which is a process that will culminate into a single EAC currency by the year 2024. I support the adoption of this Report.
Thank you, hon. Speaker. I am also a Member of the Select Committee on Regional Integration and I stand to support the adoption of the Report.
Initially, when we started discussions on a monetary union, most of us were a bit skeptical, because we did not understand that there are several issues that surrounded the establishment of the East African Community Monetary Union (EACMU). But then after involving several stakeholders and being taken through different aspects, we found that there were difficulties with it. Eventually, we came to an agreement that it is very important that we go for the EACMU. Now, looking at the trade that we have amongst East African states, and looking at Uganda in terms of trade, Uganda is very much ahead. This is because they have liberalised the market, and have got a lot of free trade and their taxes are a little bit lower than in Kenya. You realize that most of the imports that get across our roads are transported to Uganda. A trader from Kenya will still go across to Uganda to buy the same goods at a cheaper rate compared to importing them directly, maybe from places like China. Then you will realize that there is a lot of free trade in Uganda. Hon. Speaker, if you look at Uganda, they do not have a lot of factories compared to Kenya. Therefore, if EACMU is established, Kenya will benefit so much in terms of trade. We also realize that we had a lot of reservations on issues of the exchange rate. This is because our economy and currency are stronger than others in East Africa. Therefore, most of us had difficulties understanding, or accepting that it will be regularized to the extent that Kenya is still going to be ahead of others when it comes to the strength of our economy. But after going through the legalities, the implications and work that will be done by the central banks, it became clear to us that initially it may not be very apparent. But in the long-run, Kenya will stand to gain from free trade, especially when it comes to manufacturing. It is Kenya that is going to manufacture a lot of goods that will be circulated, or will go, across the borders in trade. Hon. Speaker, another thing that was very apparent is the fact that most of Kenyans, including some of us, were not so much sensitized about other unions that took place, like the customs and the free movement of people and goods. Therefore, when it comes to EACMU, most people need to be sensitized. Kenyans should be made to understand the implications, so that when we get into the union, we move together, and everybody will be reading from the same page. Another thing which became apparent was the issue of legal obligations. We realized that if it is going to be give-and-take here and there, when it comes to the central bank, we may not have our independent central bank. We are going to have one central bank regulating the finances of the whole of East Africa. On the issue of loss of jobs and independence, when it comes to regulations and the Constitution--- Our Constitution will be affected, if we put the monetary union The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
together. In all these things, we had an opportunity to invite experts to talk to us and most of the concerns we raised were ironed out. If we look at the benefits that we are going to get as East Africa, it has already been mentioned by most of my colleagues that there will benefits from trade, taxes, and trade across East Africa. Therefore, we may not understand the whole lot of it, but in the long-run, Kenya stands to benefit. When it comes to trade and manufacturing, we are going to have a very large market for our goods, because we are ahead in the East African region in monetary and trade issues.In Kenya, there is a lot of trade restriction and our taxes are more compared to those of other East African countries. Therefore, if we put our currency at par with others across East Africa, we will reduce the taxes that we struggle with here in Kenya. Hon. Speaker, I know most people think that the issue of EACMU is being hurried. But, if you look at other two unions that we have gone through, we are not even half way. We still have ten years and I believe, during the ten years, we will be able to understand the structures and benefits more in order to take everybody on board, mostly traders across the borders. Hon. Speaker, if you look at the monetary union of the European Union, the United Kingdom (UK) chose to remain out of it. They had their own reasons. Some of us felt that, maybe, we become the giants; since we are the giants in East Africa, it will also be fair if we opt to be like UK and remain outside, that is we do not join the monetary union. But, after a lot of discussions and research, we realized that Kenya stands to benefit a lot from this union.
I support and urge that we adopt the Report.
Thank you, hon. Speaker. I rise to support this Motion. First and foremost, I want to thank the Select Committee on Regional Integration for the good work done. Looking at the Report, they have covered many dimensions in this matter. They have analyzed large volumes of information and the conclusions are overly sound. I would like to pass my word of gratitude to them. I also rise to support the Motion on this Report as a resident of border county. I come from Busia as many people may know. For us, one of the major possibilities of growth will arise from an East African Common market where the flow of people, goods and services will be unfettered. That will help us grow our incomes and help us to take advantage of what lies across the borders that the Kenyan side can take advantage of. Therefore, personally I feel there is need for this kind of union. Hon. Speaker, unlike other regions, East Africa starts from a strong base of common culture. The people of East Africa have common cultures; we have similar languages and a shared history. The more recent history, particularly in the last 100 years, has knocked a number of things in line and we act very much the same. That is a strong base. Secondly, there is a kind of co-ordination in every sector, monetary or otherwise. It requires, first and foremost, that we have an agreeable person-to-person relationship. The movement of people is not just that which is facilitated by law. I stated earlier that it should be facilitated by common languages, common cultures and so on, which we have in East Africa. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Thirdly, the emergence of a common market is going to consolidate Kenya’s position. As we would like to say, we are ahead and that is a good thing. Those who have looked at the European Union know that German has to shoulder specific responsibilities as the larger economy that was ahead at the inception of the union. Be that as it may, good things come with responsibility. Kenya is already the largest economy; it has many facilities that the other countries are also working hard to acquire, but we are still ahead. That will offer us an opportunity; it will also impose responsibility on our country, particularly as we shall see later when we reach the ultimate stage of the common currency and what that goes with. If things are that good, why is it that sometimes you have to go back to referenda in various countries to get this kind of process to go forward? In saying that, I want to begin to hint at the kinds of challenges that lie along the way. We can see the land of milk and honey at the end, but there are hurdles along the way. These hurdles, from what has been studied elsewhere, do not constitute permanent obstacles; they can be overcome at some cost, and benefits are higher than the cost. Take for example, the need to harmonize inflation. Why do you need to harmonize inflation? Hon. Wakhungu talked about how he feels, I thought he would say he feels like a king when he gets to Uganda and changes the Kenyan currency. Do not go to the dollar, just carry Kenya Shillings, go to Uganda, change it and you will feel like a king when you count it, shilling by shilling. However, you know that you should not compare shilling to shilling; you should look at the price of a coke and say how many cokes you will get with what you have changed today. Ask yourself how many dinners you will buy with what you have got today. There are other reasons as hon. (Ms.) Nyamunga has explained why people would go to Uganda and buy goods that came in through Mombasa and passed through here on their way to Uganda, and are still cheaper than ours. Harmonizing inflation has a number of implications. When we talk about sensitizing people about the protocol, let us not waste time talking about the technicalities of the documents, the implications of harmonization; that is what our people, the ordinary person here; the farmer, the man or woman on the street, the Wanjikus and so on need to understand. To harmonize inflation in a setting where the productivity levels are different is a very tall order. If, for example - which will necessarily be the case as we go down the road - there should be no farm production support and no price subsidies, the survivors in such a situation will be those whose productivity levels are competitive, and are high, so that for every unit input of cost, the output is able to more than pay for it. If you have farmers who have survived as a result of excessive subsidy and support, hidden or explicit, harmonizing it would kill that particular sector of activity in that area. Take fiscal deficits; you agree on the level of fiscal deficit to GDP. Harmonizing fiscal deficits is a very tall order. One, you must tame the appetite for expenditure. We are in a Republic in which, for example, in our case, the appetite for expenditure is pretty high. Reining in that appetite, so that the expenditure levels are sustainable is a tall order. It is a painful order. One way of reining in deficits is to increase taxes, so that the difference between your expenditure and your revenue is narrowed or eliminated. Elimination is a tall order. How do you do that when you raise taxes? You are going to hit a brick wall. These are the sort of challenges along the road to the land of milk and honey that are painful, but which we need to do if we are going to The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
achieve take-off in the growth that we are talking about. So, achieving fiscal deficits has significant pain; this is the sort of sensitization that starting with ourselves and down to Wanjiku on the road we need to understand; if ordinary people buy it, they will agree to manage the pain that comes with it. A successful monetary union is going to require, for example, the pricing of factors of production. The most critical one, as we have learnt and that we know generally, is labour. Movement of labour is extremely important. You know how much Kenya has suffered in terms of being unable to move its workers to countries like Tanzania, where up to now getting work permits is still a big problem. Uganda has fared much better and Rwanda is fairing even better than that. We have to work and understand implications of harmonizing the factors of production. We must accept that. The other is capital. I can see that the Report has gone to great length to explain what is going to be required in harmonizing financial systems into right policies and the things that will neutralize undue advantages in each country in terms of the movement of capital from one country to another. By being able to move freely, capital will settle in countries where business environment, as one of my colleagues has said, is best. We have to work to create a favourable environment for capital and technology to flow. What I did not see in the Report - the authors can correct me if rapid reading made me not to see it - is land. Land is immutable. We understand that. You are not going to carry land from here and take it to Uganda or Tanzania. That is not the issue. Look at the differences in land policies around East Africa, you want to neutralize undue advantages in incentives for investment, so that within this harmonized region, capital can flow to the places that have the best conditions for investment. Tanzania has severe restrictions on access to land. Kenya has its own challenges with respect to access to land. Kenya has to create and open non-corrupt land market to attract investors easily. Tanzania would have to give up its restrictive policies in respect of providing access to land to foreigners. They do provide access through leasing but you cannot buy land. This has to be harmonized. A discussion of the land issue as one of the key factors of production that is going to help both the monetary union, the ultimate integration--- Going forward, we must look at the land issues. That is a critical factor. As I conclude, I see that the light is coming on. The rigidities that could occur when you do not have factors of production fully liberalized are such that they would make it extremely difficult for the lead economies such as Kenya’s to pull along the other countries like Burundi. Rwanda is ahead in this particular case. In conclusion---
Thank you, hon. Speaker. I stand to support this Motion and I want to congratulate hon. (Ms.) Kajuju and her Committee of 28 members for a good job that they have done. I am for this union because of the old saying, “divided we fall, united we stand.” It is acceptable globally to create big markets by coming together and an example has been cited of European Union. There is an American kind of union between Canada, USA, Mexico, Latin America and South American States.
Yes; they have the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Thank you very much. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Hon. Speaker, there are other unions the world over. Whenever you have a union, you pull so many people together. You create a market and demand for goods. When you come together like that, other countries want to do business with you because you are such a big market. When eventually this monetary union becomes a political union, it will be one country, one day. That is our belief. When we become one country of over 150 million people, with a big GDP, everybody will want to trade with East Africa, because we will have discovered hydrocarbons. By the way, those people who are saying Kenya has advantages over other countries because of a slightly bigger economy, I want to tell them why they are wrong. Tanzania has discovered a lot of offshore gas. They have the biggest deposits of gas discovered next to their coast and it is the second biggest to that one in Mozambique. So, Tanzania is poised to be exporting a lot of gas in the near future. Kenya will benefit more from this monetary union because Kenya has very well trained personnel. In fact, we are talking about joblessness and unemployment. This is the way to go because we have so many educated Kenyans.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, once we come into a monetary union and later on a kind of federal state, there will be free movement of labour and most of these people we are saying are jobless, will get jobs in these countries and will not be required to produce those papers. They will not be restricted. There will be free movement of capital. Kenyans are very enterprising when it comes to business and they should take advantage because this is a bigger pie. So, it is very good and timely for us to support this monetary union. The Committee has done a very good job by comparing the European Union and ECOWAS Union with ours to show how it can work. The biggest economy in the world or the country with the biggest Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) is the United States of America. If you see the gap between the USA and the second biggest economy, which is China, it is like one-half. China is like one-half of United States of America in terms of GDP. You will be surprised now Japan follows in third position. What do they have in common? The countries that have big GDP have also big populations and this is a point to note. Countries that are growing the fastest, for example, the countries that you are calling BRICS, that is Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, if you look at their population apart from South Africa, they have created a big internal market. Once their populations start generating incomes, they are so massive that they grow very fast so long as they have young populations. China has 1.37 billion people and it is the fastest growing economy in the world. If you say that we do not go to this kind of monetary and political union and you remain a small country, however rich you are, you will not make a mark in the globe. Look at Kuwait; it is a rich country by any standard. Their per capita income is very high. Compare it with India which has a big population and a low per capita income. However, when India coughs, everybody listens. So, it is good when you have a big population and a lot of resources put together. You will move together and the world will listen to you. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
I was watching in the news today. I saw the launch of one of those rockets that go to the outer space which exploded in the United States of America. Sorry for that. However, there was a Russian rocket that was launched which was very successful. The question is that those countries that have gone even to space technology and dominated the world in politics, economy, trade and in everything, they all have big populations. However, tiny countries that have remained alone do not get anywhere. You will be rich but nobody will listen to you because you do not make a mark in the world. When we come together as a monetary union in East Africa, we will also benefit from tourism. We will sell this region as one unit so that tourists can choose where to go and will benefit more because we will sell it as one single destination. Besides that, we have also to note that we have discovered a lot of hydrocarbons. Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, which are the biggest economies of the five East African countries have discovered similar minerals. It will be easier to mine these minerals and to market ourselves because this is the engine of growth. However, if we are not united, even investors will not know how to approach this region. For our people to benefit, it is good to come together so that we can attract the big multinationals and then we have a package that is negotiated together which will bring more benefits to our people. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I want to say this, Kenyans have a more educated population in this region than in the other regions. We have more institutions of higher learning, more specialised training, more advanced institutes and universities and so forth. So, we will benefit more by going into this union than any other country. The Standard Gauge Railway will go through Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. These are the things that will spur economic growth for our people in this region. For us to benefit as a country, let us support this Committee because they have done a good job. Let us not try to oppose this union because it will be better for us. If you look at Germany, it is the biggest economy in Europe and it is the one that encourages the other poorer and smaller states to be united. It has the strongest economy which has not gone down. It is growing faster than the other economies. So, like Kenya here, we have the biggest developed economy. When we encourage this union, we are the economy that will grow bigger and I am sure we will do business in those countries. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I want to pay tribute to Michael Sata, the president of Zambia who died. I want to send my condolences and urge the good people of Zambia to remain calm and wait for a constitutional transition of power in a peaceful way in 90 days to come. Hon.T emporary Deputy Speaker, I support.
Member for Igembe Central, try to have trust in the digital system. Once you pressed that little button, the Speaker---
Thank you, hon. Speaker. I confirm that I pressed this one even before the Speaker walked into this august House.
The point I am passing to all of us Members of the National Assembly is that you do not have to come to presiding Chair to find out where you are, when you presented, or whether the presiding Chair should bring you ahead of other Members.
Just hold on so that I make my point. You will have your time; I will make sure that your time is fully preserved. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
There are a lot of issues that the presiding Chair looks at to be able to balance the House. Some of you are holders of Constitutional offices, others are balancing gender, opinions from various shades where these issues are coming from, others are Members of the Committee and others are senior ranking Members of the National Assembly. So, not only will the Speaker look at the request list but will also bring all these things to bear so that everybody has his time. However, Member for Igembe Central, it is your time.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I stand guided. I stand to support this Report and I urge my colleagues in this august House to support and accept the ratification. From the outset, I will say that, as Kenyans, we cannot live in isolation from the other communities of the world. We cannot live in an island of our own. The direction the world is moving today, as a global village, is integration and co- operation so that countries can achieve, or maximise on their regional integration as far as the economy, social aspects and politics are concerned. At the end of the day, we are looking at this process which will take time. However, we have come from far away, that is, since the breaking of the old East African Community in 1977. We have been trying to correct where we went wrong and I believe we are on course. We have got four pillars in this integration and most of them or some of them, have already taken off. In customs, you find that we have got Uganda Customs Officers stationed in Mombasa to ease the clearance of their goods. This is because once their goods are cleared in Mombasa by their officers, they just go all the way to Kampala or to their destinations without the cumbersome practice of having to be inspected again. That saves in time and also costs.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, the monetary issue was ratified in November last year. Ours is just to approve the report and we are not putting the cart before the horse. We are ratifying what was applied in November last year and, therefore, we, as a Committee went ahead to talk to stakeholders and those people who can shed more light on this matter. We came to the conclusion that we, as a country, and because the others had followed suit, we should also support ratification. This timeline, as one of my colleagues who was opposing it said, we should stop it and start it when the time comes; this is a process and a process has timeframe when it starts. Therefore, that is why there is a timeframe and I support it. This is so that all the teething issues, which could not have been ratified and captured in the report, can always be corrected. There will be time to correct the same, and also that is the time we should get even the public – the residents of East Africa or the citizens who will be using this document - to satisfy their goals. They should be sensitised with time by the time we come to the political federation. All these others will have been checked, balanced and purified to the extent that all the citizens will be comfortable.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, we have heard from one of our colleagues today and it is true that you can go to Uganda now using your identity card instead of the passport. That is the way forward because we need to move forward as other parts of the world are doing. We have people going to Uganda to buy clothes cheaply and bring them here. If there is that open market for buying goods, it will be cheaper for our country.
Therefore, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I strongly support because we need to move with the other world. The European Union is already moving on. There are those who have the monetary bit of it, but in due course with proper consultations and after The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
mitigating whatever issues could have made them hold back, I think they will come over. We can say we are a superior economy. All right; we appreciate that but we cannot live on our own and we stand to benefit more. We stand to gain more from this co-operation. At the end of the day, we have our seaport which most of these other countries will be using. We have got our airport and it is the biggest in the region; even our economy is the biggest. So, at the end of the day we will be able to reap more from this co-operation. I hope once we achieve the three pillars then we can start on the political one, which might be a tall order; at least once a journey has started we will move on. I strongly support that at the end of the day we need to ratify this one and accept the co-operation.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
Thank you very much. Now, Member for Cherangany, are you a member of this Committee?
Then this is your time to contribute.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for giving me an opportunity to contribute to this important Motion. I stand to support this Motion. As a country, we cannot work alone. We need a group of us to be able to successfully defeat the challenges that we face as a nation and a continent. Africa is a continent that has been known as a backward continent. It is a continent that has been known for no development. However, I think it is about time we, as Africans of this continent, came together, so that we can fight our challenges as one group, and that is how we will move forward.
As a runner, there is one thing that we know. For us to win, be successful and defend every title that we run for out there, we need to do it as a group. The reason why Kenya has become so successful in running is because of our team work and tactics. For us as Africans, and especially East Africans, to be able to successfully fight our economic difficulties, I think the first thing we need to do is unite.
I come from Cherangany and I represent the good and great people of Cherangany, who live close to Uganda. These people are mostly farmers. The biggest problem that we face in this country is that cheap things come from Uganda and flood our market. One thing that we need to accept as a country is that there is now what we call a free market and free movement among all these nations. As we move into the free market and free movement within East African nations, we need nothing more but to be able to unite, and form monetary union that will help promote the work that we do.
The reason why maize is cheaper in Uganda is because cost of production is low. It is because Uganda’s currency is weaker than Kenya’s. If you want to buy fertilizer, it will be cheaper. If you want labour, it will be cheaper. The reason why China is a growing country is because it has done so well in devaluing their currency; they have done so more than the United States of America; that is why people are able to go there and produce; cost of labour is lower. If we East African countries are able to use one currency, it will unify us. So, cost of producing maize in Uganda will be the same cost of producing maize in Kenya, Tanzania and everywhere in East Africa. That will make the price of maize be equal, and if that happens then the selling price of maize will be the The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
same. A farmer in Kenya cannot compete with that of Uganda. It is not easy because of the differences in the value of our currencies.
So, I really support this because it will bring equality; but there is one thing as we move into this union. We need to consider also the rules that we have as a country. I will give you an example. This is the importation of cars. When you import a car in Kenya you have a period of time, say eight years. If somebody in Uganda imports a car, they can import one which is as old as it is. You find cartels importing cars, taking them to Uganda and then bringing them back into this country. We need to make sure that our rules and laws are tightened, so that we can remove those things.
There is another thing that we need to take care of. There are people who are supposed to transport fuel to Uganda, and instead of them doing so they sell it in the Kenyan market. So, our monitoring and ways of making sure that such things do not come into this country illegally, should be improved. When we unite, this will make sure that we protect also the interests of this nation. This is because the interests of this nation and citizens of Kenya are more important to us than the interests of other nations and their citizens.
So, I support this Motion and I urge Members to also do so, so that we are able to bring equality and also fight problems that we face as Africans and one body and not as divided people. Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker for this opportunity. First and foremost, I would like to thank the Heads of State who met and passed this. My concern, however, is that after one year now, the technocrats in Government never took time to meet and bring this up for debate. This is an important issue which has come in time. Members have expressed concern. Even if you pass this Motion today, remember that there are bodies that have been proposed to be entrusted with responsibility of sorting out the issues that we have raised here. We have monetary institutes that handle the issue of setting up the rate of the currency and even a commission charged with the responsibility of surveying, compliance and enforcement of the monetary union matters in the Community. We also have an institution which is responsible for handling statistics and coming up with what is right for the East African countries. We also have the East African Financial Service Commission. So, all the issues Members have been raising will be addressed by these bodies once they are formed. If, as a country, you are strong and then some weak countries join you, then you should celebrate and say, “Welcome, join me”. Already ordinary traders have moved to do trade. You can go to Tanzania and sell goods in Tanzanian Shillings. If you go to the bus stage you have the opportunity to exchange all the currencies of the East African countries there. Our colleagues have said here that when they were in Uganda, our Kenyan Shilling was accepted and it was as if we already have a common market. People have moved on. If we come together in a bigger market, we will explore business opportunities which will enable our traders improve their well being. I am really interested in how the small traders will benefit from this. Therefore, this issue of a monetary union is as popular as “Pesa Mashinani” . If you talked to the ordinary people, that is, those who move around and do trade, they will tell you about their challenges. Talk to people who The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
use the buses to travel as they trade and you will understand the situation. These people have to be checked at the border points and also pay money to the customs officers. If we adopt a common currency then all those barriers will be removed. By having one common currency we shall save in terms of foreign exchange. At the moment, as we export and import things from Uganda, the Kenyan Shilling is converted to the dollar. If we have a monetary union, we shall trade using one common currency. If you look at the trade portfolio of Kenya and Tanzania--- From our business with Uganda, we get 40 per cent of our FOREX. Overall, there will be a saving in FOREX and our currency will be stronger compared to foreign currencies. If you go to Tanzania you will get M-Pesa. If you go to Uganda, you can also use M-Pesa. Already they have moved a step; they have already created a union. So, it is the issue of technocrats to--- I thank this Committee because it has taken a very short time to come up with this report. The Cabinet met in July of this year after more than one year of waiting. The issues were then submitted to the House here. Members have taken a lot of time to scrutinize this matter. They have got views and are now presenting this document for adoption by the House. The main thing here is to improve our wellbeing. If we support the formation of a monetary union, our lives will be better. People will move freely with their products and labour will also move. Sometimes people have fears that Kenyan laws will become Tanzanian laws. That will not be the case. What we are saying is that Tanzania should maintain their law regarding land, but they should allow free movement of anybody who wants to farm and stay there. If Tanzanians want to come and work here, that will be so. Already there are a lot of intermarriages between Kenyans and Tanzanians and Kenyans and Ugandans. So, there is free movement of human beings. Hon. Members, let us support the establishment of one union and one currency. Finally, we may have one political union based on the mutual benefits to all of us. The most important thing we must ask ourselves is: What are the benefits for our people? If Rwanda wants a union and yet we are saying that Rwanda is weak, let us ask ourselves why they want it. I believe it is because they want to grow and expand their economy. Uganda wants a union because of the same reason. It should be the same reason for us. So, it will be beneficial to all of us to support the Heads of State who have given consent – they have agreed to the formation of a union. It is now upon the technocrats to work hard and move fast so that these issues we are discussing now are passed as soon as possible. They should not be delaying. I have just checked in the Report here and I see that the Summit met on 30th June, 2013 while the Cabinet met in July, 2013. With those few remarks, I beg to support.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I am happy to support this Motion and to congratulate the Committee led by my friend, hon. Kajuju. I congratulate them for having met many stakeholders. They spent a lot of time analyzing what the stakeholders said. I think the Committee has given us a good report. Hon. Chris Wamalwa had earlier submitted that the universities were not consulted. He only mentioned the University of Nairobi. I want to mention that Karatina University, Dedan Kimathi University and many others were not consulted. The strength of a report is not consultation with the universities; rather it is consultation with stakeholders and, especially governmental stakeholders who have the relevant The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
competence. On the part of CBK, to the extent that the national Treasury spent a lot of time on this Report, we can only be happy as the National Assembly to take their views. I am also happy to note that this Report is coming at the time when our President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta is the Chairman of the EAC. I am also happy that Ms. Kandie, the Cabinet Secretary, is also the Chairperson of the Ministers Council. This is a good legacy that at the time they are leading the EAC the Kenya National Assembly has a chance to discuss the Report on the monetary union. It is credit to their leadership. I hope that this House will adopt this Report at this opportune time when the President is the Chairman of the EAC. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I am also happy to note that of all the EAC countries it is only Kenya which has not ratified this process. It is only fair that Kenya, as one of the partners in the EAC and also one of the partners accused for having caused the collapse of the earlier EAC, does play its rightful role today. The National Assembly must accept that this Report is due for ratification. It is important to note that even after we ratified this decision today, it is not until another ten years that the decision becomes operative in the sense of having one currency.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, so we still have a long time to take care of all the concerns that hon. Members like hon. Wakhungu were raising, to prepare the country. We have a whole ten years to continue considering whether this is a good decision. But as far as looking forward is concerned; as far as going international is concerned, I think it is important that today the National Assembly agrees that it is indeed right to adopt the report of the Committee on the establishment of the East African Community Monetary Union. Ten years we will still have time to see whether the decision is fine. I am convinced that looking at the reasons that the Committee has given us; this is, indeed, a good decision.
On the benefits, I think it is important to look at the question of integration in the EAC. If we look at what the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been able to do, we still have a long way to go. The boundaries in our EA countries continue to exist. Every time I travel to West Africa, I am happy to marvel at what they have created in ECOWAS. The boundaries in ECOWAS have collapsed. The countries in ECOWAS feel a lot more united. The members of ECOWAS even when we go to international meetings and they announce that ECOWAS can meet, there is no question as to who is ECOWAS. I remember when I was in the university and I was studying, we would even have a question and members of ECOWAS would want to submit one answer. The members on the EAC on the other hand, Kenya on one corner, Tanzania on the other corner and Uganda was in the other corner when ECOWAS was submitting one position. I think it is time we did what the West Africans are doing. The West African colleagues have become stronger and we in EAC have no choice but to follow in that direction. I am happy that the Committee has analyzed what ECOWAS has been able to do.
In terms of Kenya, we feel a bit like the United Kingdom in the discussions on the European Union. Always, the country that is moving forward has the tendency to think that it is going to lose when there is integration and that is how some of our colleagues are feeling; that because we have the bigger economy of all the countries of EAC that we are the ones who stand to lose; that it is our Kenya Shilling that stands to lose. Nothing The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
could be further from the truth. When you go to the UK, it is very painful to use the GB Pound. The rest of us in the world are feeling the pain of using the GB Pound when the rest of the countries in the EU have moved to the Euro. When you use Euros, those of us who travel, you feel very nice. The conversion rate of the Euro is bearable. When you go to the UK, the conversion of the GB Pound is killing. In fact, some of the people who go for medical treatment there have been saying that you will die faster from the GB Pound than from the disease. The GB Pound continues to be very stressful. I think once we go into a union as we intend to do in EAC, the Kenya Shilling is good; the Kenya Shilling is powerful but there is always better company in numbers. So, even as we go into this monetary union, it is Kenya which is the largest economy that is going to benefit. It is our people who are going to get jobs. It is our people who are going to move into integration. It is the Kenyan economy that is going to benefit out of that.
There is no need of feeling superior or feeling like our history is the best. I would not want a situation in which Kenya compares itself to what the UK continues to do in the EU. Very soon, as you know, the House of Commons, is going to be debating the question of whether the UK is going to remain a member of the EU. I am one of those who are hoping that the UK is going to chose to be a member of the EU. In the same strength, Kenya is a strong economy in EA but it is going to help us more for us to be a member of the EA and to agree to a monetary union so that when you want to travel to the other EA countries, you do not need to change currency. You carry the same currency that you have and that currency can be used. Just recently when we did the Migori hearings with the Budget Committee, our colleague, hon. Ndiege took us to Isebania and from there we crossed to Serare. While you can see both sides of the border; from the Kenyan side you can see Isebania and from the Tanzania side you can see Serare, when you go there, you have to change to Tanzania Shillings. You are eating the same food; you are consuming the same drinks; you are using the same airtime but just across the border, two or three meters away, you have to change currency. There would be no reason to do that. We have Kuria people on our side of the border in Isebania and we have Kuria people on the other side in Serare. They speak the same language; they have the same culture and same traditions. Why would you make them change the currency just because of a border? I know you know the story of the man who came at night after the borders had been drawn through the scramble for Africa. Remember the borders are not ours. A man went to drink on the other side of the country; when he came back at 2.00 a.m. in the night, he found that he was in a different country and he was required to travel 400 kilometers away from his home to get a passport to access his own bedroom because the bedroom was on the other side of the border.
So those kinds of stories are what we have even in our borders for the people on the Ugandan border and the people of the Tanzanian border. It would be useful if they use the same currency, if we can become the same people. I say this aware of our questions of tribalism. The day that we allow ourselves to have a bigger country; to have a bigger geography; to have a bigger terrain to think about, is the day that our tribal questions stop to become as vexing as they are becoming in our country. In my own part of the region, Central and my own county of Nyeri, I would be happy if people do not just think about Nyanza or the Coast but they think about going to Tanzania, Kigali or Bujumbura. That would be a better country. So that when I am looking for a job, I am not The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
just thinking about how I will get a job in my county; I am thinking about a job in EA and Africa. So this integration in the EA will help us to fight the problems in our country. In Kenya, we have become very insular. We only think about our counties; we only think about our tribal problems; we only think about ourselves when there is a bigger world, bigger markets and bigger frontiers to be concurred. When we become the EAC, properly so called, integrated, and all the pillars working, we get better bargaining power in the global economy; we get a better voice in Africa and a better voice internationally. That is indeed the way to go and that is why today I stand to support this report strongly, to ask that those of us with fears, there is enough time for the fears to be dealt with. As I conclude, I wish to ask that we continue with the sensitization process. As I said again with the ECOWAS programme, the sensitization process has gone up to the school level, university level and the community level: The women of West Africa travelling from one country to the other country is no longer a story. So, we need a lot of sensitization. Our people here in Kenya have to understand what the benefits will be of us having---
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, thank you for this chance to join my colleagues in supporting this Motion. I have been looking around the Chamber and I noticed that only two or three other hon. Members may be old enough to remember the good days of the EA currency board. In the early 1960s when I was a young man, my mother would take me on MV Victoria, then the largest motor vessel on Lake Victoria to visit her relatives in Musoma and Mwanza in Tanzania. We would use the same money in Kisumu, the same currency in Mwanza and the same currency in Musoma. Those days are long gone. The post-independence days and the politics of EA countries brought confusion and suspicion among member states of EA to the extent that Kenyans would look at Tanzanians, not as brothers and sisters but as people who would be opposing them at every corner. It became so bad that I remember when we joined members of the Bar Association of Uganda and Tanzania to set up what is now called the EA Law Society, it was not easy. We travelled with the likes of the late Mirugi Kariuki, Ms. Martha Karua and Ms. Rachel Omamo to all those capital cities to convince our brothers who were practising law in those countries that there is need to have one bar association. It all went very well. Everybody agreed on how we should move as East Africans until we went to Dar es Salaam to meet officials of the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS). We explained to them what we were up to but at the end of the conference, the chairman of the then TLS stood up and said in the Tanzanian Swahili which I have difficulty in speaking: “ Tumenyanyaswa miaka mingi na Waarabu; tumenyanyaswa tena baadaye na Wazunguna sasa tunyanyaswe na Wakenya ?”
Up to now as we speak, the East Africa Law Society is yet to convince the governments of East Africa that there is need to have one common law market. But our committees of this House supplement each other. We belong to different committees but each committee at the end of the day supplements each other. The Report of the Committee on Regional Integration talks about this Protocol and that is where we should be going. Recently I was privileged to be a Member of the Public Investments Committee (PIC) of this Parliament that sat with other East African Committee Members in Kigali Rwanda. The purpose of that meeting was to find out how The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
our parliaments in EA could be used as a catalyst in getting into this Monetary Union. Again, at that time, there was reluctance from Tanzania Parliament. I am however glad that now Tanzania has adopted this Protocol. However, even then, in Kigali, it was not easy for us because the delegation from Dar es Salaam listened to us for three days. When we were now drawing conclusions on the third day, they said they would not go along with us until they had travelled back to Dar es Salaam to talk to the Minister and the Cabinet. Again, that to me was a demonstration of suspicion and reluctance to join. I am glad that all this is now history. We now want to move together and as we move together, adopting this Protocol is just one step that brings us very close to having one currency. We have heard Members of this House saying that the benefits of having one currency are enormous. As we have one currency, we look at one political union. Now, there again we are going to have stumbling blocks clearly, not just out of competition for who will lead the political federation but then again on what type of ideology the countries of EA are going to follow. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I know as a Kenyan who looks forward to one East Africa that we are going to overcome all these suspicions because the people of EA would like to go beyond this Protocol and finally end up with one nation. The benefits of one nation have been said by other Members before me. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, it is important to note that as we move towards one Monetary Union and one currency, we must identify some of the stumbling blocks that we expect to meet. We must also plan on how we are going to overcome them. It is my desire that in the next five years, we should be thinking of the East African Federation where all our countries will then move together. I do not want to say more than that but I want to say that I fully support this Motion. Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
Member for Rongai. It would seem that you are still having trouble with the gadgets. Can you press the intervention button?
I think I have the microphone now, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. Thank you very much for this opportunity to briefly comment on this very important Motion because I believe in it and from the outset I would like to support this Motion. I do not want to belabour the points because they have been made; they have talked of the advantages to Kenya. These are enhanced trade and investments, reduction in foreign exchange risks, increased efficiency and a wider market and having the issue of price comparisons which will act as an advantage to traders and consumers. We have heard all these. We have also heard about the challenges to the partner states. There will be challenges and as I have heard from the other Members of Parliament, there will be loss of sovereignty in terms of monetary and exchange rate policies, amendments of certain laws in Parliament so that they conform to the Monetary Union protocols and constrained fiscal environment. However in spite of all these challenges, Kenya stands to gain because of her manufacturing prowess in agriculture and tourism. If it means a wider market for Kenyan goods, then I do not see why it should have any negative consequences. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker In order to iron out some of these problems that we envisage, there will be regulatory agencies that will sort them out such as the East African Monetary Institute, the East African Surveillance, Compliance and Enforcement Commission, the East African Bureau of Statistics and the East African Financial Services. However, because of the enhanced trade and a population of 180 million people, as opposed to the 40 million people that we have in Kenya, it means that because Kenya is dominant in various fields, we will have a bigger market. It means we can go and enter into Tanzania at will as opposed to now where we have to go to the borders. I believe these two pillars still present a problem – the Customs Union Protocol (CUP) and the Common Market Protocol (CMP), in that they have not been fully implemented. We keep hearing that these two pillars have been signed and so forth but they have not been fully realised. You cannot go from here and work in Tanzania without being asked for documents. You will be asked for documents and it will be a serious offence if you do not have these documents. So, we would like the full implementation of the CUP and the CMP so that there will be free movement of capital and labour across the lines. I do not want to add or subtract what has been said but, for me, I would like to support this Motion and urge Members of this House to support it because it is a plus and a win for Kenya. Thank you very much, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
Hon. Kajwang’): You have spoken in a record of less than four minutes and if we got more of those people, we would save a lot of time. Member for Taveta.
Asante sana, Mhe. Naibu Spika wa Muda. Mimi pia nataka kuunga mkono Hoja hii na haswa kuwapongeza Mhe. Kajuju na timu yake kwa kazi nzuri ambayo wamefanya kwa kutuletea Ripoti hii ambayo imeonyesha kwa uwazi kuwa kuna umuhimu wa sisi kama Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki (JAM) kuweza kuendelea na kuhakikisha kuwa uhusiano wetu umezidi kuleta manufaa kwa wananchi wa JAM. Mhe. Naibu Spika wa Muda, Afrika Mashariki ilianza kitambo, miaka ile ya mwanzo wakati tulikuwa na JAM. Sifa nyingi inakwenda sana kwenye Jumuiya ya Nchi za Ulaya ambayo ilikuja kuchukua mfano Afrika Mashariki na kuweza kwenda kutengeneza jumuiya yao. Wao walisonga mbele kwa yale yote tulikuwa tumeyatakia wakati huo; walisonga mbele wakaweza kupata hela ama sarafu moja ambayo wameweza kuifanyia kazi na kuwawezesha wananchi wao kufanya biashara. Vile vile, sisi kutoka Jumuia ya Afrika Mashariki tulivunja muungano wetu pale mwanzo lakini sasa hivi muungano umekuja na umekuja na nguvu sana. Muungano huu wetu wa Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki unatakikana kuendelea kujengwa. Tumekuwa tukiujenga polepole, lakini vile vile nchi zingine zimekuwa na uwoga kuwa labda tukiendelea na Jumuiya hii tutaumiza wananchi wetu. Lakini ukweli ni kwamba wakati umefika wakuwa ubinafsi tuondoe. Nchi tofauti tofauti zitaona manufaa wakati tukiwa tumeungana ili sote tuweze kufanyabiashara tukiwa kama ndugu moja, na vile vile kuwawezesha wananchi wetu kuweza kupita kutoka nchi hadi nchi wakiwa wanaweza kurahisishiwa usafiri wao, pia kuweza kufanya shughuli zao bila wasiwasi wowote. Ripoti hii imeonyesha wazi ya kwamba tukisonga mbele umoja wetu ndio utakuwa nguvu yetu. Umoja wetu ndio utakaotuwezesha kupata manufaa, haswa kwa The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
biashara. Sisi ambao tunatoka kwenye mpaka, tumeona matatizo mengi kwa muda mrefu kwasababu ya tofauti za hela ambazo tunazitumia. Vile vile kwa sababu ya tofauti za kibinafsi kwa sababu wananchi tofauti wamechukua muda kukubali kuwa Afrika Mashariki imeamua kusonga mbele tukiwa kitu kimoja. Ripoti yenyewe imeonyesha wazi kuwa hata sisi kama Wakenya itatubidi kugeuza Kipengele cha 231 cha Katiba ili tuweze kuwezesha Benki Kuu ambayo itasimamia Afrika Mashariki kuweza kuchukua majukumu yale ambayo yamekuwa yakisimamiwa na Benki Kuu ya hapa nchini na hata zile za nchi zingine, itawabidi waangalie sheria ili kuwezesha kufanikisha jambo hili. Serufi ambayo itatumika itatuwezesha kuwa sawasawa. Italeta usawa na kuwezesha mtu akitoka nchi moja kwenda nyingine ajue kuwa amepata haki yake kutegemea ile serufi itakuwa inatumika katika Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki. Kuna maswala machache ambayo watu labda hawakuyafikiria lakini nafikiria ikifikia miaka hii 10 inavyozidi kuendelea, maswala haya mengi yatakuwa yameangaliwa haswa kujitambulisha kama wewe ni mwananchi wa upande gani. Nchi zingine kama Tanzania nimeona bado wako nyuma kidogo kwa kuwa wananchi wao hawawezi kujitambulisha kwa urahisi kwasababu hawajaweza kuwapatia vitambulisho. Hayo ndiyo maswala ambayo yatawawezesha watu kupita kwa urahisi na vile vile kuweza kufanya shughuli hizi zao, haswa za kibiashara, ili wananchi wetu waweze kupata manufaa. Mheshimiwa Naibu Spika wa Muda, tumetembea nchi za madola nyingi. Tumetembea ulimwengu mzima. Kila mahali tukienda tunaangalia mfumo gani ambao unaweza kutufaa. Kusema ukweli, ukienda kwenye Jumuiya ya Ulaya unaona tofauti kubwa sana kama wenzangu walivyotangulia kusema, ile faida ambayo unaiona kule. Ukienda Afrika ya Magharibi vile vile utaona kuna tofauti kubwa sana kwasababu ya umoja wa ile jumuiya walionayo, haswa ECOWAS ambayo inawawezesha kufanya shughuli hizi. Mheshimiwa Naibu Spika wa Muda, mengi yamesemwa na wenzangu. Mimi sina budi kuunga mkono yote yaliyosemwa, haswa kwa kupongeza Kamati hii kwa kazi nzuri waliofanya na pia kumpongeza Mheshimiwa Rais wetu wa Kenya wakati huu akiwa Mwenyekiti wa Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki kwa kuweza kuhakikisha kuwa tumeweza kusonga mbele tukiwa kitu kimoja kama Afrika Mashariki. Asante sana.
Hon. Oburu Odinga, Nominated Member.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for this opportunity. This is a very important Report by the Committee and I would like, from the outset, to support the Report and state that this particular issue of the Monetary Union of the East African Community is an issue which is very crucial for the implementation of the East African Union. The Monetary Union is not a new thing. This is something which was in existence at Independence. Actually, our currency was one with Uganda and Tanzania. That time it was Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika and Zanzibar. The benefits cannot be overstated because the movement of people and goods was very free and that gave benefits to the ordinary person in terms of trade and so on. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Our countries have historical bonds which bound them together as one during the colonial exploitation. The struggle for Independence by these countries was united. In fact, those who were there that time will recall that Tanzania even wanted to delay their Independence to wait for all the other East African countries to be independent from the colonial rule. The move for the EAC was supposed to be people-driven, which means that it ought to have been driven by this Parliament. Over the years, since negotiations for the EAC started, the drive for the Community has been done exclusively by the Executive to the exclusion of Parliament. Parliament normally comes in at the very tail-end, like now, when the protocols have already been signed and you are only coming to ratify. When it comes to ratification, it is very difficult to oppose or to correct anything because it is coming for you to only do ratification. If this matter, as has been conceptualised, was a truly people-driven process then the people of East Africa should have been directly involved in the negotiations through their elected representatives, which to date has not happened. The implementation of the Monetary Union for the East African countries is preconditioned on the implementation of the other protocols which have been adopted or signed before. One of the protocols is the Customs Union. The Customs Union Protocol must be implemented in full before the Monetary Union comes into being. There is also the Common Markets Protocol which has also been signed. It must be implemented in full before we come to the implementation of the Monetary Union. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, there are problems which are on the way in implementation. Signing is one thing, but implementing the protocols which have been signed is a different thing altogether. Just to mention a few hurdles in the implementation of the Customs Union, we have issues like, for instance, the non-tariff barriers. The delimitation of these non-tariff barriers is taking overly long and the countries should be urged to hurry up the removal of these non-tariff barriers in order to fully implement the Customs Union Protocol. There is also something called Ugandalist. I do not want to bore you with that. But that is one list which is creeping in all the time because Uganda feels very strongly that Kenya is advantaged because it has more industries and therefore when tariffs are introduced on certain goods and they do not produce those goods, they unfairly suffer higher prices from Kenya. Therefore, the free movement of goods will access their market without duty. There are also issues because for implementation of the Monetary Union we also need to fully implement the Common Market Protocol. The Common Market Protocol entails four very fundamental movements: 1. Free movement of people; 2. Free movement of goods; 3. Free movement of services; 4. Free movement of capital. With regard to free movement of people, there are two components. One of it is the free movement of labour. On this element, there are a lot of hurdles because countries like Tanzania fear that the implementation of this particular aspect will affect their people. They feel that Kenya has too many professionals who will take up all the jobs that require skilled manpower in their country. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
The other issue is on free movement of goods, which also presents a problem with the tariffs. The other one is on the issue of the common identity, which is still a problem to implement. The last one is the right of establishment. Tanzanians fears that if there is right of establishment, Kenyans will buy land and settle permanently in Tanzania, which will adversely affect their economy. They particularly fear that people from this area will use this opportunity to grab land because they think Kenyans are land grabbers, and that they would extend that habit to Tanzania.
Some of us may not be aware that when we talk of free movement of capital, the Tanzanians say that they are ahead of Kenya in terms of direct foreign investment, but what they call advantage and being ahead in terms of direct foreign investment is actually investment by Kenyans. The majority of those who invest directly in Tanzania are Kenyans. That is because they have better Excise Duty policies which make it more profitable for capital to move down that way. In conclusion, I would like to urge that Kenya Government addresses the issue of Excise Duty. This issue is adversely affecting our economy.
I still have several requests coming in and I have tried to balance in all ways possible to get nominated Members, those representing small parties, issue of gender and everything else, but still I can see there are too many requests and time will not allow. FORD (K) was represented by the hon. Member for Kisumu West, I think. In order for us to move, I want to call upon the Mover to reply because very soon we will change to another Motion which is on the Floor. Mover, you have five minutes, in fact, four minutes, unless you want to share your time with others.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I will donate one minute to hon. Dr. Nyikal and hon. Zebedeo Opore.
We will time that to be exactly one minute.
I stand to support this. We should remember that the East African Community has the oldest single currency in the world. We had the Kenyan Shilling that transformed to Ugandan Shilling and Tanzanian Shilling from the East African Shilling. So, it is actually long overdue. We are one people. We are actually one ecological zone and once we get people and goods to move then it is only logical that we have a single currency. I thank the Mover for giving me one minute. However, I wonder why The Temporary Deputy Speaker never saw my intervention for so long.
The next one was the Member for Awendo.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. Looking at the way the member States have moved towards formation of a monetary union, I think we have been a little bit slow in this. It is important that the East African region benefits from its own market. When we have free movement of people and goods, we should be able to provide adequate market. In fact, we will provide adequate local market for our goods and services and, therefore, grow our region by leaps and bounds. I think it is the direction that we need to move as a region. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Thank you. I only have a minute for you. Please go on. You are unable to donate any time because you do not have any.
Yes, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. Let me begin by thanking this House for the support that each and every hon. Member has given us as a Committee. I only wish to clarify the fact that the issue of land that was raised has a factor in the formation of this monetary union. The issue of land was sorted out in the Common Market Protocol which stated that land will be left to the national issues, therefore, it will not become a regional issue. One of the Members asked something on the issue of a referendum in the course of amendment of the Constitution. Under Article 231, there is no referendum that will be required to amend that particular provision. There are more benefits to these than there are challenges or disadvantages. I, therefore, say that this is a good Protocol that we are engaging in as Kenya and as East Africans for the benefit of the people so that we can become one people and one destiny. I pray that this House approves and ratifies the protocol as it is.
I therefore order that this Motion appears on the Order Paper for tomorrow in the afternoon, 2.30 p.m. for the purpose of voting upon it. Hon. Member for Kiambu County.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 33(1), I wish to seek leave to move a Motion for Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing the matter concerning violation of human rights of domestic workers who have sought employment and other economic advancement opportunities in foreign countries, particularly in the Middle East.
I beg to move.
You have ten minutes, you can express yourself.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, what informed this decision to ask for a Motion for Adjournment to discuss this issue of national interest is the fact that this issue affects significantly members of my Kiambu County. This is particularly so because they are close to Nairobi and have been the victims of a lot of violation of human rights when they go to seek employment in the Middle East. A few months ago in August, the late Eunice Chege from Wangige, left to work in the Middle East in Saudi Arabia, as a domestic worker. She was murdered three months after she was employed by her employer. The employer claimed that the cause of the death was suicide three months after she had arrived at her work station.
The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Order. Hon. Aburi, it is not because you are not freezing, it is because you are crossing the Floor like you are in Igembe or somewhere. Can you just behave yourself again. Right, proceed.
.Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. The late Eunice went to work in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Within three months of arriving at her work station, she was murdered. The family was not made aware of her death until a year later. It took not just a year for the parents to get that information, but another six tragic months of this family moving from office to office within the Foreign Affairs Department trying to get whatever legal assistance was possible. Shortly after they contacted me, it took another additional four months for that body to be brought back. That is a total of two years from the time this lady had passed on. Nobody knew her whereabouts and the family was not informed. Her employer, the head of the police in Saudi Arabia, who should have been in a position to protect her and from whom she could have gone for legal redress, is currently being accused as the person who assisted in her death. This is just one Eunice of very many Kenyans stuck in Saudi Arabia. There are many others, not just from Central, but from other areas. I have here with me the names of Concepta Atamba Khamasi from Ikolomani, who died two years ago and Maryanne Wanjiku from Muguga Ward, whose body is still being held by the Government of Saudi Arabia for the last one month. This is an atrocity and a crime. People leave this country in a bid to get opportunities. We do not send them to other countries to be killed, murdered and mistreated. They are going out there to offer their services. We expect them to repatriate some of the money they earn to assist their families. They leave here because of poverty and that is the main reason that the majority of the people leave this country to go and look for greener pastures outside this country. This is a travesty of justice. As a House, every single Kenyan here, every representative in this House should take this issue very seriously. I recommend that we observe one minute of silence in respect of those families and the people who have died in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East and other countries. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, may we observe a minute of silence.
This is a House of order and rules. You do not create your rules and impose them on others. It is only the Speaker who has that discretion to make a Communication from the Chair. So, until the Speaker makes that Communication, you cannot make it from where you are.
I requested whether we could observe a minute of silence.
Order! It is not allowable until the Speaker rules so.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. Even if we will not observe that, I think it is a travesty of justice of the number of Kenyans who are lying dead in Saudi Arabia and other countries. Kenyans whom we do not know are in those countries and it is important that we are able to seek justice for them. As a House of representatives, that is why we have been elected. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I have with me a list of over 250 people who are stuck in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East and in other counties trying to get back into Kenya. They have been trafficked; they have left this country under mysterious circumstances. Employment agencies promise them that they are going to be leaving this country to work in hotels, as teachers and in very many other positions. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, these citizens, if I can just give their names: Khadija from Kiembeni, Bahati Maneno from Tana River---
Just hold on. My issue with you is you are reading a document and you are also referring to issues of fact.
Yes. These are people---
Just hold on, understand where I am going. Are these issues which can be verified from another independent documented evidence?
Has the document you are referring to been laid in the House?
No, it has not.
Is it a document which can properly be laid within the Standing Orders so that Members can investigate it?
Yes, it can.
Where is it from? What kind of document is it?
These are people who have contacted us from Saudi Arabia through radio stations and through WhatsApp asking us to assist them to get out of the country.
Have you obtained it through the formal sources within the Government systems?
Those names have been forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services for them to evacuate these people from those countries.
Alright, I sympathise with you and with the Motion that you are urging. I do not want to rule you out of order but you need to talk about factual positions which can be independently verified by other formal records. I hope you understand what I mean but I do not want to rule you out of order.
Yes, I do hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I clearly understand. These are documents that we have been working on for the last three months.
Since you are not intending to lay the documents, I will not speak on those documents that you are holding.
Absolutely. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, as we are raising this particular issue, we are going to take a look at some of the issues we have faced and the issues that are being faced by Kenyans especially those who are outside the country. Unfair labour practices contrary to Article 41 of the Constitution; we have had many situations, and they have been reported by the media, where we find that Kenyans The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
have been promised to go out and are not able to get their proper salaries. Inhuman and degrading treatment contrary to Article 28 of the Constitution; I am sure very many hon.Members in this House have seen the issues that most of their constituents have faced. On treatment in a cruel, inhuman and degrading manner contrary to Article 29 of the Constitution and confiscation of travel documents contrary to Article 12 of the Constitution, we know that many of the people who are trafficked out of this country give their documents to agents and people who take them out of the country. They do not have access to telephones and, therefore, are not able to communicate with their families. Slavery and human trafficking contrary---
Alright, there we go. I have a lot of requests. I want to suppose that these are members who want to speak to this subject and if you are not on the list, please just release the request list so that I can refresh it. Seeing that nobody is magnanimous enough to release, we will go by the request list. Member for Butula, proceed.
Thank you very much, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. The matter being raised here is very serious, and should not be taken lightly at any one level. Listening to the hon. Member enumerating all the facts and figures, what comes to mind immediately is where the Government is. Where are the relevant Ministries and departments that are supposed to be protecting Kenyans? It is embarrassing that Kenyans can go to a foreign country and be treated like slaves or domestic animals and fail to take the matter seriously. Where are our embassies? What is the Kenyan Embassy in those countries doing? Why do we send ambassadors and other embassy staff to those countries and give them all the privileges that they enjoy? This whole system stinks. It needs to be examined very thoroughly and in great depth right from the moment our citizens leave this country to wherever they go. We cannot leave them at the mercy of such cruelty. Maybe, a taskforce or committee or some agency should be put together to try and look into the details of these matters with a view to exposing the people behind this scam. We need to know the people who lure our citizens to enter into a kind of arrangement that has no provision for any protection, in case of mistreatment. This is a very serious matter and, therefore, I support the position that we should look at it very seriously as a House. We should recommend that it be investigated thoroughly and seriously, so that we can know the people behind the scam with a view to subjecting them to justice. Some citizens are conned, given false information and lured to go to those places. I condemn the whole matter of our citizens being mistreated and call upon the Government to take this matter very seriously and protect Kenyans. If you mistreat an American, there will be fireworks from the highest level of the US Government. That is the way to go because it is the responsibility of the Government to protect Kenyans wherever they are. With those remarks, I beg to support.
Let us hear the Member for Igembe North. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I stand to support the Motion. It is important that we have a mechanism of vetting the agencies that are involved in the recruitment because whatever is happening at the moment is very saddening. However, as we inquire into the activities of those agencies, we should ensure that those who represent the interests of our country out there do their work. I wonder whether the ambassadors that we send to those countries have the interests of Kenyans at heart.We have had incidences where our young people who go out in search of opportunities for better living, at the end of the day, end up being mistreated and treated as if they are less human. They are treated badly even in countries which are friendly to our country. So, in that case, something should be done about it.
In as far as there is need for opportunities outside, people also need to concentrate and build what is within. There are incidences where people have left employment here and gone out to live under deplorable conditions. There are some Kenyans who are very smart. They look for any means possible to get money from other people promising them what they cannot fulfill.
The Government should take serious steps. The agencies that recruit are known. So, there should be a mechanism of retracing back how these people went to these places. If they went there and got these challenges, we should retrace them. The agencies should not act in the name of getting employment yet they are just making money, and are involved in human trafficking in the name of sending people for greener pastures.
With those remarks, I support.
Thank you, very much, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I join hon. Nyokabi in supporting the Motion and also in condemning what has happened to our people out there, particularly in Saudi Arabia.
Sanctity to life is universal. It is not just the laws of Kenya. It is international law. When Kenyans as global citizens move out there, they are entitled to rights and protection like the citizens of those countries. There are several complaints that have been presented. Kenyans are hoodwinked to move out to the Middle East to work as maybe, clerks or accountants, only for them to end up becoming labourers and to do toiling and back-breaking jobs for which in the first place, they did not sign for. This House is on record that the Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations, which was to visit Saudi Arabia sometime early this year, was not able to travel because the Saudi Government did not provide the visas. For us to come to terms with this and also to resolve it, we must sign labour laws with the countries where our citizens have moved in large numbers to work. Also, we find that there are many agents who are operating in this country. We also establish that many of these agents are neither registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Labour. I think this is where this loophole is. A large majority of these people who are caught in this web are domestic workers, whether they are ayahs or servants. There must be a law from this country that when such labour is transferred from Kenya to those countries, they must be fully registered, so that our embassies across the world or even in those countries in the Middle East are able to take full account of Kenyan citizens. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I support. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Member for Mbita, I understand from the Mover that you have done a lot of study on this subject and that you might be able to shed more light on it.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. That is true. I just want to thank the Mover for bringing this Motion. I want to indicate that this is a very big problem because from what the speaker is saying, these are cases of trafficking in persons. I brought a Bill that was passed by this House, I think, last year; Counter Trafficking in Persons Act. One of the things that is evident is that Kenya is a source country, it is a transit country and a destination country for trafficking and one of the things that is happening with Kenya as a source country is that we have many Kenyan girls who go to other countries because of the push factor, which is poverty and they are hoping that they can get better lives. Unfortunately, many Kenyan girls get mistreated and because of the very nature of these cases being modern day slavery, they are not on the surface. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I have had occasion to travel to some of those countries. It is very difficult to reach some of those girls even when they send SOS. That is why I can appreciate and understand that my dear sister, hon. (Ms.) Nyokabi is not able to give very solid documents because of its very nature; it is an underground trade much like drug trafficking. What happens in those cases is that most of those Kenyans who go there are not documented. Even when they go properly, they go through agents. Once they reach there, their passports are confiscated. They are detained in homes. When I visited one of those countries, without naming names, I noticed that I was travelling in the plane with very many African girls but when I reached that country, you could hardly see any African person on the streets. That in itself sometimes is indicative of trafficking. When we actually did a research, we discovered that there were many Kenyans who were trafficked and they would want to come out but they are not able. What I would want to suggest because this issue keeps coming back, in the Act we provided for an advisory committee. Unfortunately, I have just been in communication with the Chair who is a lady called Juliet Nyambura, who works with the Cradle. She is the one who is the current Chair of that advisory body and she is saying that the main challenge is they do not have funds to meet. If they do not even have funds to meet, how would they be able to deal with the very big issue of this nature? So, what I would want to request is that when the Budget and Appropriations Committee is sitting next time, they need to consider giving money to this committee. I think it sits in the Ministry responsible for women and children. They need to give this body money so that they are able to document Kenyans who are outside there and have quick response when you have girls who send SOS that they need to come and they cannot come back. What these people do is that when you demand for your money the easiest way to do is to throw you off a roof or throw you off a window because in any event, you are not documented. Even for the ones who manage to reach the police, what they do is they charge them for being in that country illegally. I visited one of the camps and they are terrible. They are horrible camps where those people are kept. So, what I would want to request is that as a House, we need to facilitate because this issue keeps coming before the Floor all the time. It does not have to be in your constituency for us to take note. I have not seen any case from my constituency, but they are all Kenyans. The women who are suffering are Kenyans. We The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
need to take very urgent action. I have seen one case of a woman called Rose from Homa Bay County, who was also murdered. Most of them come back dead. Some of them will never come back and we will never know because they are killed and not documented. So, I would want to ask the Mover to go a step further and take this action with the Budget and Appropriations Committee, so that they can give money to this advisory committee for it to take action to protect our girls.
Hon. Kajwang’): Alright, hon. Member for Bondo. But even as you rise to speak, we need ideas on interventions here. I suppose this is one of those Statement Requests. It is a very effective way of calling the Cabinet Secretary. If those documents that you are holding are authentic and documented elsewhere, if the Cabinet Secretary can call for information and let the National Assembly exactly know what is happening to these girls who have been murdered or that kind of thing, it will be very effective.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. If you want to know the number of Kenyans that are suffering outside, let there be an evacuation and we see exactly how many people are in certain countries without the knowledge of this Government and without the knowledge of the Kenyan public. It is true that many are suffering. Many are running away from issues of vulnerability, delinquency and joblessness. Many are going out because of what we call greener pastures. They end up not being green in that case. A lot of Kenyans are outside there and are suffering. So, for purposes of what you have asked in terms of intervention, I want to suggest two or three things. First, there needs to be a very serious public education particularly from the Ministry of Labour and that of Foreign Affairs. It should be deliberate for Kenyans to know that the first thing that you need to do when you get outside this country, your mother and father is our foreign office. This information is not with the public. A lot of us Members of Parliament here, I want to believe, are assisting people to go out. Sometimes one or two come to you that they are looking for air fare. You are contributing to an air fare for somebody to go out there to look for a job. At the end of the day, you do not hear about these fellows at all, having disappeared wherever they are. We need to have very massive and serious public education in terms of moving out. The Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs need to bring this out very clearly for the public not to suffer the extent to which we are suffering.
The other intervention is in terms of the processes of transfers. It is important that whenever you are in a foreign country, for whatever purpose or reason, to inform our embassy. Just this morning, I was from Philippines courtesy of the work of Parliament, but in the Philippines, unfortunately, you are jailed first or you are guilty first before proved innocent. So, people are in jail as their cases are being looked at. A lot of them end up in this situation not because they wanted. They got there and thought they could get jobs. They end up being in a situation that they cannot cope and they look for alternative ways of survival. They end up being in drugs and all that. I was told that there are many Kenyans in the Philippines jails awaiting trial because they are guilty first. So, many people are really suffering. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, our embassies and foreign offices wherever they are, whether they are consulates in the Philippines - we do not have an official The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
embassy, but a consulate. All these offices need to be put into some serious use such that, at whatever situation Kenyans are in, they send out information. We should know where they are, even if they are not working so that if something happens to them, we are able to track them.
There is serious need that some of these things are looked into more properly. Therefore, hon. (Ms.) Kanyua is very right in bringing this Motion to this House.
Hon. Tonui, it is now your chance. Are you in Chamber?
He is not here!
Absent, though desiring to debate. Let us have hon. Sunjeev Birdi, a nominated Member of Parliament.
Thank you very much, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this very important Motion. I thank hon. (Ms.) Kanyua for bringing this Motion to this House at a time when our citizens and our children are crying to our Government to do something about the atrocities they face in countries like Saudi Arabia. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, as a Committee we happened to travel to Dubai and we met our ambassador in Dubai. We asked him about the problems that Kenyans face in Dubai. Of course, we also asked him about the business opportunities, but that is a different matter. What do people go to do in Dubai? They go there to look for money because they are made to believe that there is employment and money there. Therefore, when Kenyans leave Kenya, one of the problems is that they do not leave behind their addresses and so it becomes difficult to trace them. I agree with the other hon. Members who said that we should have an agency that monitors the movement of people who go to work outside the country. I would also like to say that apart from domestic violence, there is enslavement, sexual harassment, exploitation and racial discrimination, amongst others. In places like Saudi Arabia crime like theft can be given a death penalty. If somebody in Saudi Arabia murders a Kenyan citizen, what then should be the sentence for that person? Of course, I reiterate what everybody else said, that we should have proper systems in place to take care of our people. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I would like to quote from a website called embassyfinder.com. If you open that website, you will see various comments made by Kenyan citizens, mostly ladies. They say “SOS, I am in need of help. Please help me” and so on. But then after that, you see somebody else saying: “I am a mechanical engineer looking for a job, please help me.” This is a very interesting website. If we need to trace our people and get to them, we can do that. What I find so strange is that despite all these comments from certain people about being in trouble; we still have others who are willing to go there. I find that petrifying because I would not go to a place where there is such a big threat to my life. I think one thing that has always been a case in our country, is poverty. Poverty drives our citizens to that place. To conclude, I would not like to say that these are not Kenyans, they are our sisters, mothers and sisters. I just hope that the Government will look into this. Thank you. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Asante Mhe. Spika kwa kunipatia nafasi hii kuweza kuchangia mjadala ulio mbele yetu. Ni huzuni kwa Wakenya wengi ambao wametoka hapa nchini kuelekea huko Saudi Arabia kutafuta malisho mema ilihali inageuka kuwa si malisho mema bali ni kifo. Hivi ninavyozungumza kuna msichana mmoja kutoka katika eneo Bunge langu kwa jina Santa Kassim. Yuko Lebanon na anadai kwamba anahitaji kurudi nyumbani na ameitishwa Kshs200,000 ndio aweze kurejeshwa nyumbani. Wazazi wake wamejaribu na wamepata Kshs50,000. Kilichosalia ni Mhe. Mbunge aongeze zilizosalia ili msichana huyo arudi nyumbani. Ni jambo la kusikitisha kwamba watoto wetu wanatoka hapa nchini wakienda huko Uarabuni tukiwa pia sisi wazazi tunafahamu kwamba Waarabu walitutesa kwa miaka mingi. Tukiwa ni watumwa na hivi sasa bado watoto wetu wanaenda kuwa watumwa wakupenda. Si kupenda vile ni kwasababu nchini, pia hali ya ajira imekuwa duni na hivyo basi inalazimu vijana wetu watoke nje. Mapendekezo yangu ni kwamba Serikali ya Kenya iweze kuchukua hatua na kuona kwamba Serikali ya Saudi Arabia inalipa ridhaa kwa jamii ambazo watu wake wamepoteza maisha wakiwa nchini Saudi Arabia. Vile vile, wale maagenti wanaojihusisha na biashara hii haramu wachukuliwe hatua inayofaa maana hawana tofauti na wale walanguzi wa dawa za kulevya. Biashara hii yakuuza binadamu kwa jina la kwamba wanaenda kazini ni jambo ambalo Serikali ya Kenya haistahili kamwe kuiruhusu kuendelea. Vile vile, ningependekeza kwamba afisa mhusika wa mambo ya nchi za kigeni, wakati hawa wanatoka, ingelazimu wasajiliwe sawasawa ili wapate kujulikana ni kina nani ambao wametoka hapa nchini kuenda kutafuta kazi nchi za nje. Tumepata pia matangazo kutoka kwa nchi ya Uingereza kwamba wanaweza kupata kazi au kusoma wakiendelea na kazi lakini hayo yote, mwisho hayatuletei matunda hapa nchini bali yanatuletea madhara mazito. Serikali ya Kenya inastahili kuchukua hatua mwafaka kuona kwamba inawaokoa watu wake. Kwa hayo, ningetaka kumpongeza pia Mheshimiwa aliyeleta Hoja hii. Asante.
Member for Ugunja.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I will, of course, support this Motion because it is extremely important. It must be noted that it is the primary responsibility of every Government to protect the lives of its citizens, within the borders of the country or without the borders. It is the duty of the Government to ensure that its citizens are safe wherever they are, at every time. It is really a sad indictment on ourselves as a country that in this day and age, we can have our fellow citizens languishing in desperation in foreign lands and end up dying in the hands of foreigners without us having a clue as to how they ended up there or what exactly they are doing there. In ordinary circumstances, it is not something nice or something to long for to work in a foreign land. Even for professionals, who end up doing good jobs in foreign lands, it is their last resort. You want to work in your country. It becomes worse when circumstances force you to go and do manual work in a foreign land. It is a situation that calls for even more vigilance on the part of the Government. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, the question I ask, because many times we talk about our sovereignty, is: Can you imagine what would happen if a citizen of a country such as the United States of America (USA), were to be killed in a foreign land under The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
similar circumstances like the ones in which our citizens are dying? The United States of America would not relent until justice is done and so would other civilised countries. What happens in our case? Our citizens are killed left, right and centre in foreign lands and the Government sits back waiting for a miracle to happen.
Hon. Member, just a minute. The Member for Nyandarua has an intervention.
Indeed, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I have put an intervention to request you that Members be allowed to speak for three minutes because many Members are really interested in this, kindly.
That sounds plausible, but you know we have looked at Standing Order 97, which states that those requests or Motions must come before we begin that Motion. Voluntarily, yes, Members can speak for three minutes only.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, as I conclude, as we address these matters, we must not lose sight of the primary cause of this situation which is the state of unemployment in the country. So, any sensible government would want to tackle that root cause. Unfortunately, that is not happening with this Government. The Government needs to go back to the drawing board and work out mechanisms to address the issue of unemployment so that our children do not go out of the country to look for jobs which they could find and do in this country. I thank you.
Member for Kisumu East.
Thank you, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker. I stand to support this Motion. I have seen a number of young ladies going to Lebanon and when I ask whether there is a ban--- Even recently we were told they were coming from somewhere. I know, for a fact, because recently I was with a group of ladies who were seated in front of me and some of them were crying. When I tried to intervene, I found out that some of these airlines have a deal. There are people who come in, allegedly from Ethiopia, but they do not have visas. They are put on what is called transit and then they are loaded on the plane at the last moment. When you try to find out it appears that there is a very powerful agent behind them who walks in with passports. I am unhappy with the immigration officers here. When one person wants to travel out of the country they can make life really hell for you. However, you can get 15 to 20 women standing outside and you are there. I walked in as a Member of Parliament and the immigration officers asked me about 15 questions which I had to answer. Here are 20 women who just walk straight in and not a word is said to them. So, this is actually a conduit between the immigration officers, the passport officers and the airline.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I was at the celebrations of the national day of Saudi Arabia not long ago and the ambassador told us that there are about 50,000 Kenyans working there. I asked him where he got those figures and he told us that he got them from his country. I remember asking the ambassador whether he knew how many people of Kenyan origin were working there. He was not able to give me any response. The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I want to say this with great humility, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan and others have set in place a system to protect their own. Our country has set in place a system to sell our own. I say this without fear of contradiction. One of the most ineffective and useless embassies that I have ever come across is the one in Saudi Arabia.
(Hon. Kajwang’). Now, you will get into problems with me. Can you please withdraw that word? You know this a friendly foreign nation.
I am talking about our own embassy, hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker.
(Hon. Kajwang’). No but there is a word there that you can go back to and withdraw.
May I repeat? The Kenyan embassy in Saudi Arabia---
I do not want you to repeat it. If you repeat it, it will be worse. Just withdraw it.
Okay. I withdraw it. There are people who are meant to look after our interests.
Can you withdraw the word “useless” and withdraw it unequivocally?
I withdraw the word “useless” and apologise but I insist on the word “ineffective”.
That is okay.
One of the most ineffective foreign embassies in Kenya is the Saudi Arabian embassy. The staff there are more interested in going for Hajj and doing other activities and do not know that we have 50,000 Kenyans. During the Tenth Parliament, the current Kiambu Governor Kabogo went all the way to Saudi Arabia to go and extract some of his constituents. We are facing difficulties there.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, finally, I see my brother hon. Keynan here and he will correct me, if I am wrong.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I rise to support this Motion. It is very sad that up to today Kenyans are being exploited simply because they are desperate for employment. I know Kenyans used to be conned into cruise ships jobs. At that time, they were left alone and unprotected. I wonder where the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services is. Most of these employment agencies are in down town Nairobi and are supposedly owned by powerful people. They have been exploiting Kenyans without check. We know that the employment agencies advertise for hotel staff and teachers. They target rural women mostly. The Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services has done nothing since this outcry began. When the employment agencies The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
take these people to foreign countries, they confiscate their travel documents. We know, especially those who go to work in Europe, that travel documents are never confiscated. As I speak, Eunice Waitherero from my constituency is still stranded. Recently, we struggled to bring back Salome Wangari and Jane Njeri. I sympathize with all those girls from Kenya who have been sending us messages on WhatsApp and simply saying, “Before I die, please, help me.” The question, therefore, begs: “Where is the embassy? What has the embassies done?” We know that our embassies mainly in the Arabian countries have been in existence and yet they have not been helping us to bring these girls back home. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been lax. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, it is important that the whip is cracked through the Ministry of Labour, Social Security, and Services so that we put together an authority to check the employment agencies. Most of them are just a cluster. They open an office and charge these poor girls who are going to die in the Arabian countries up to Kshs35,000. Once they have acquired enough girls and there is an outcry, they then close their office and run away. This kind of impunity cannot be allowed to continue in a democratic state that is ruled by law. Hon. Nyokabi here has a list of names of people which she cannot, probably, table here because she has obtained the names through WhatsApp. I have also given her some other names which I was given by parents. It is a very sad state because this list should be with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also the Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations. Something should be done about this list. We should be tracking these names. Hon. Nyokabi and other hon. Members here take personal initiative whenever their constituents are in trouble. We take personal initiative by going to the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services. Sometimes we pay for their airfares so that they get here. Why are our embassies becoming very ineffective? I support.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, first of all I want to say here that I am a very proud Kenyan. I am happy that I am a Kenyan. I got very sad when I heard that one of my own died in 2012, as hon. Macharia has just said. It is not the only case because I know of cases where our girls have been taken out there. They are cheated by the deceitful and dishonest agents. I have been to the UAE and Saudi Arabia. I can tell you that our children are suffering. Our people are dying. We should not be talking for the sake of it. Something should be done urgently. We want the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services to stop or withdraw the licences for the next two years so that the Saudi Arabian Embassy takes stock of who is actually in Saudi Arabia. That is the only way we can move. Recently, hon. Members of the National Assembly, you heard about one Israeli soldier who was captured by Syrians and Israel almost went to war. Here we are talking about our children; our Kenyans dying in Saudi Arabia. I am addressing Hon. (Ms.) Kanyua so that we can have the way forward. For the Mover of the Motion and I want us to work together on this one, we want the Government of Kenya, particularly the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services to stop these deceitful agents for the next one or two years. Secondly, the embassy that is in Saudi Arabia should take stock of all the Kenyans who are there. It is possible. I know the tycoons in Saudi Arabia are very difficult to handle. They bribe their way through but as The electronic version of the Official Hansard Report is for information purposesonly. A certified version of this Report can be obtained from the Hansard Editor.
a country we should behave like the Israeli and the USA have done. We should have the list of the people in Saudi Arabia so that our people can come back and start afresh. Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I am aware of a case in my own constituency. The husband lost a job and told the wife to go to Saudi Arabia. As I speak now, she is stuck in Saudi Arabia. There is no money coming from there. She said she would get some money but there is nothing and the family is suffering. The man does not know whether to follow the wife or what to do. Something should be done urgently by this House so that we are seen to have at least restored some dignity as Kenyans. Lastly and not least, there were cases in South Sudan, Jordan and Dubai. Let us work as Kenyans and protect the dignity of our citizens. With those few remarks, I want to tell my sister that we should work together so that we have these things. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is there and even if it means recalling the staff from that embassy, I am for that because they are so ineffective. They do not even know what is happening. I met one of them and he said that he does not know and I could call the agents from Mombasa who sent those children. It is bad as a Kenyan to see our own suffering out there. I am very sorry but with a very heavy heart because I have seen this happening to my own in Kwanza, I support.
Hon. Konchella, you are the former Minister in this department. I will allow you to make a few comments before we rise. I do not have time but I will allow you to make a few comments.
Hon. Temporary Deputy Speaker, I apologize for approaching you because as the Minister for Immigration, I did a lot to try and address this matter.
Are you sure?
Yes, I addressed the issue of refugees. We removed the refugees from the hands of the NGOs to the Government and the Government now is able to address that matter. That is why there is peace and harmony within our refugee camps in the nation today. This is a very sad situation and I support the Mover because of what it is all about. I would encourage her to visit the Philippines and see because they have 3,000 refugee workers in the Middle East. It is because of the laws that are there to protect and guard the people; to register them and to ensure they are safe. The embassy does its job to make sure that every citizen of that nation is registered. So, I would encourage by saying that we need in this House to come up with a law that is going to regulate all the agencies which are doing the recruitment of Kenyans. There are sad stories where Wazungus and others come to Kenya to marry young girls then they take them to Europe and they dump them in brothels. So, it is not just in the Middle East that this is happening. Let us also not condemn the employers of our people because we can see there are 30,000 in Dubai. It is just a few areas that have a problem because we do not have a law to guide and protect them. This is the message I wanted to pass. I have more than this but we can address the issue with the hon. Member if a law is enacted in this House.
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Hon. Members, time being 6.30 p.m. this House stands adjourned until tomorrow, Thursday, 30th October, 2014, at 2.30 p.m.
The House rose at 6.30 p.m.
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