Hon. Members, I wish to introduce to you and welcome this morning a delegation from the National Assembly of France who are seated at the Speakerâs Row. They are as follows, and forgive me if I do not pronounce their names in the perfect French manner:- Hon. Jacques Le Guen, MP, Hon. Jean-Yves Le Dueaut, MP, Hon. Jean-Pierre Grand, MP; and, Hon. Jacques Desallangre, MP. They are accompanied by Mr. Pascal Marchain, Secretary, Parliamentary Friendship Groups, Kenya and Ethiopia. They are Members of the French-Kenya Parliamentary Friendship Group. They have been in the country since 22nd November, 2009. The Friendship Group promotes personal links between French Parliamentarians and their foreign counterparts. In addition, it enriches relations with the country where they have established a friendship group. The delegation will be visiting a number of development projects, including CDF projects in some constituencies, among other places. The delegation leaves the country on Sunday, 29th November, 2009.
On behalf of the House, and on my own behalf, I wish the delegation a fruitful and happy stay in Kenya.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I want to thank you for that clarity. I wish to remind you that in the same afternoon, you did not allow the Prime Minister to respond to the clarification which hon. Kioni wanted. Now that you have made it clear and pointed out that the matter is subjective, do you not think it is necessary that we allow the Prime Minister to respond on policy and not on the specific key issue? This is because the policy which hon. Kioni was looking for was that now that the Prime Minister had said that as far as the issue of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was concerned, the Government was going to respect the law. The policy issue that hon. Kioni wanted to find out was: Will the same Government, as a matter policy, respect the Public Officer Ethics Act in so far as cases that are in court are concerned? Could you allow the Prime Minister to respond to that?
Hon. Bonny Khalwale, you can raise that at the appropriate time, which is in the afternoon today. The Chair will think about it and give appropriate direction on it at the appropriate time. Thank you.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to give notice of the following Motion:- THAT, aware that the minimum university entry requirement is a C+ attained at KCSE; concerned that there has been an exponential increase in students attaining the qualifying mark and against disproportionate capacities in the local public universities; alarmed at the continued drastic increase in the cost of university education; this House urges the Government to balance the cost between the regular and parallel systems of university education in order to ensure equity and accord more students an opportunity to pursue education locally at that level, while providing the institutions with sustainable sources of income.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to give notice of the following Motion:-
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister for Roads the following Question by Private Notice.
(a) What feasibility studies have been carried out to establish the possibility and/or viability of constructing a bridge across the Kilindini harbor? Can the Minister table the same?
(b) In view of the serious accidents that have occurred in the past, including the Mtongwe ferry disaster and the frequent ferry breakdowns, resultant jams and near stampedes as happened recently, what is the Government doing towards construction of such a bridge as a permanent solution to this problem?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a) A feasibility study carried out between 1989 and 1994 by a consultant commissioned by the Government noted that the construction of a bridge across Kilindini Harbour would have huge cost implications in view of the logistical challenges of providing adequate clearance for the passage of ships. In addition, the approach road would extend deep into the town. Accordingly, a bypass to the Likoni Ferry was considered more viable.
(b) The Government is carrying out a detailed design for the construction of a bypass to Likoni from Miritini on the Mombasa-Nairobi Highway through the old explosive jetty to Tsunza Peninsula over water to Bombo and connecting the proposed Dongo Kundu Port and Likoni-Ukunda Road (A14) near Ngâombeni. Another link will be constructed to connect the new road to the new Kipevu terminal built by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA). The project design is expected to be completed in May 2010, and thereafter my Ministry will source funding for the implementation of the project.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I had asked the Assistant Minister to table the feasibility studyâs report. He has talked of cost implications. I do not know what he means by that. What are the costs? Has he had time to compare what it would cost in terms of man hours and congestion at the port? Has he tried to convert that into money and compared it against the costs he is talking about?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, under âaâ, the question is about what feasibility studies have been carried out. It did not specifically ask for the feasibility report, as the hon. Member is saying. However, more importantly, I want to say that the consultants who did the work clearly indicated that they had identified specific challenges; indeed they had even looked at the possibility of having a tunnel. You will realize that the tunnel would not be feasible because of the unreliable source of power, which is very necessary if you are doing a tunnel. Then there is the issue of disaster management and preparedness. That also became a big challenge. However, I can endeavour to table the report, as the hon. Member has requested.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not know whether the Assistant Minister has read the Question carefully. Under âaâ, I had requested him to table the report; this is very clear.
Hon. Assistant Minister, the Question is very clear.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I undertake to Table the Report.
Yes, the hon. Member for Lari!
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, for the opportunity to direct a question to the Assistant Minister. Aware that there has been a lot of fear and ferries are stalling in the waters, what is the Ministry doing to introduce new ferries at the Kilindini Port so that lives of passengers are not jeopardized?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, thank you for the question. Clearly, the mandate of the Ministry of Roads does not include the management of ferries and other forms of transport. Previously, the Ministry of Roads and Transport used to be one Ministry. Then, it would have applied, but now our mandate starts and ends with roads and bridges.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the issue of feasibility studies has been an excuse which the Government has been using time and again. Could the Assistant Minister confirm that feasibility studies have been done by successive Governments from the Kenyatta regime, specifically on the bridge and on the issue of the tunnel? During the Moi regime, another feasibility study was done and right now you are talking about yet another feasibility study scheduled to end in 2010. Could the Government confirm whether this is just a gimmick or does it have specific programs of putting funds aside to ensure that a tunnel is constructed across the Mombasa Harbor?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I may not be able to talk authoritatively about feasibility studies outside my Ministry. However, in 1989 and 1994, a feasibility study was done specifically on this particular bridge. But what we are currently doing is not a feasibility study, it is the design for the bypass to be able to take care of the problem that you have already indicated, and that will be completed by May, 2010, upon which we will be able now to provide funding to be able to ease the congestion
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in Mombasa, the crossing from the island to the North Coast also used to be linked by a pontoon bridge which was dismantled. At the present time, the congestion from the island to the North Coast makes movement almost impossible. What is the Ministry doing to reintroduce the pontoon bridge linking the island to the North Coast?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think that is what we are doing as part of the design work and I think we will ensure that it is incorporated when we are doing the bypass.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me the chance to ask this question. The Dongo Kundu Bypass is a story that has been repeated by at least two Governments that I have known now. Could the Assistant Minister tell us specifically when we should expect to have the Dongo Kundu Bypass project done and approximately how much money the Government is going to spend on that one? Kenyans have been hearing this story for a long time, particularly at the Coast and you know what it will mean if we have that bypass constructed.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, my Ministry realizes the importance of this linkage and specifically with regard to tourism in the North Coast and, therefore, we place a lot of importance to this connection. The current design estimates indicate that we will require 27.1 billion to be able to do the bypass. We will be able to get the finer details by May 2010, upon which, we will start sourcing for the funds.
I also want to specifically respond to the hon. Member, who has talked of previous pledges to do that section of the bypass. As you are aware, in Nairobi, we have also had the Nairobi Bypass that has been a big issue for many years. But as you are aware, we have started; we commissioned the road early this year and it will be completed on schedule as we have agreed. So, I want to assure this House that, indeed, once the study is completed, we will prioritize it and work will commence soon.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to thank the Assistant Minister for the way he has answered this Question. But being my neighbor in Nakuru, I would ask him what he is doing about the road between Stem Hotel all the way to Mau Narok, considering that we are the ones who feed them with all the food from Mau Narok and Kisii. Right now, that road is in a deplorable condition and I would like him to tell the House whether they are considering doing something about it.
Order, Mr. Kiuna! By now, you must be well versed with the rules of the House. The Question on the Order Paper is on Kilindini Harbor and the ferries in Mombasa; it is not on the roads that you are talking about. For you to be able to get an answer on those roads, file a Question and let it come through the process! The Question will then be answered by the Assistant Minister.
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. Again, on part âaâ of the Question, one of the reasons why we end up with these white elephant projects in this country is because of the same question; the issue of feasibility studies. There is a Question that was asked about the cost or the figures and the Assistant Minister said that, that was not part of the Question. I think feasibility study is a very wide thing. So, if you have not included it in the report, I would urge that you include it, because it includes cash flows, earnings and the revenue that you are likely to get out of this and you say that it is not part of the Question. It is part of the Question. I think you should answer that one.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I hope I got it right, but I did indicate that I would be able to Table the Report. In the meantime, the cost of doing the survey,
Ask your last question on this, hon. Wamalwa!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, would I be in order to request that this Question be deferred until the Assistant Minister has Tabled these feasibility studies? There have been several studies and I had specifically requested for the Tabling so that we can interrogate the issue of cost and the viability of the proposed bypass, as compared to actually putting up a bridge or an underwater tunnel.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have undertaken to give copies to the hon. Member and also to Table them here. However, I think it will also be unfair to defer a Question when it has been answered and we have also taken supplementary questions from hon. Members.
Could you make the report of the feasibility study available to the hon. Member?
I will do so, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Question No.2 by Private Notice! Hon. Baiya!
Mr. Baiya not here? Question No.3 by Private Notice! Hon. Silas Ruteere!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security the following Question by Private Notice. (a) Is the Minister aware of the continued disappearance of money on transit in the hands of M/s G4S Security Company? (b) How much money has been stolen while on transit in the past six months? (c) Does the Government still have confidence in G4S in transporting money for public, private and other financial companies? (d) What is the Government doing to arrest such theft of public funds and restore investor confidence?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I seek the indulgence of the Chair that I answer this Question by next week. Let me get the facts. The hon. Member is asking for a report on the events that took place in the last six months. I will be able to answer it elaborately on Wednesday morning.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, next week is too long a time. What I require is simple data on the events that took place in the last six months. In any case,
Mr. Assistant Minister, this is a Question by Private Notice. Ideally, you need only 48 hours notice for such a Question.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not mind answering this Question tomorrow or today in the afternoon. However, you are aware that todayâs Order Paper is already out. If you can slot this Question for Thursday, that is, tomorrow, that will be fine, but, again, that depends on the details which I was looking for. In any case, if you look at the Question, there is nothing serious about it.
Order, Mr. Ojode! Order! You are out of order, Mr. Assistant Minister! Everything that has the justification to be brought as a Question on the Floor with the approval of the Chair is a serious Question. The matter herein is very serious. The Chair directs that you have the answer available tomorrow in the afternoon.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I will try by tomorrow in the afternoon.
You will not try. You shall do that by tomorrow.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I will do so.
asked the Minister for Housing what action he is taking to assist Kenyans who are unable to obtain housing loans from commercial banks.
Where is the Minister for Housing? He is not in yet.
asked the Minister for Roads:- (a) why he has not repaired the Daraja Moja Bridge along Kisii- Keroka Road - the poor state of the road led to the death of 30 people on 30th September, 2007 â as promised to the House in 2008; and (b) when he will repair the bridge.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.
(a) My Ministry is committed to constructing a new bridge and has already completed the necessary design and is now processing the tender documentation. The award of the construction of the new bridge is, therefore, at an advanced stage.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this Question was first asked in August, 2008. The Ministry promised that they were going to do the construction within a period of two months from the date of the Question. I would like the Assistant Minister to clearly state what has been done and what specific dates the construction of this bridge will begin.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as I have indicated, my Ministry has prioritized the construction of this bridge. We have designed a bridge of seven metres carriageway with a two meter raised walkway on both sides. We are currently going through the tendering process. I want to assure the hon. Member that as soon as that is completed, we will be able to commence the works.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we have to go through the public procurement procedures. This sometimes takes a little bit of time. However, I would like to assure the hon. Member that, indeed, the bridge will be done.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, while I appreciate the efforts being made by the Ministry in attending to the poor roads we have in the country, earlier on, one of us raised an issue of feasibility studies and designs being done all over. We have a case here which has taken over a year now. We can observe that the Ministry has a duty to repair our roads and in consideration to our economy. I have a road in my constituency, C70, about which studies have been done. The design for this road started in 1987. The road stretches from Nyeri District through Murangâa District, Kiambu District all the way to Rift Valley. Interestingly, it has never started. Could the Assistant Minister assure this House that the Ministry will complete on time the undertaken studies and designs on roads in this country?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, my Ministryâs desire to complete all the designs currently undertaken and those that were done in the past will, by and large, be determined by the funds allocated by the Treasury. Every year, we put up a request, but we hardly get even half of what we request. My Ministry desires to complete all the projects and to start those whose design work is complete. It, however, depends on what we get from the Treasury.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, just as a follow up to what Mr. Mwangi has asked, if you listened keenly to Mr. Mungatana when he asked a question on when that by pass would be done, the Assistant Minister said that they were going to source for funds next year. The Ministry not only delays in doing the feasibility studies, but it also delays in seeking funds even from donors, let alone the Government. So, what will the Ministry do to source funds from willing donors? There are donors all over who are ready to support the Government only that there is lack of commitment.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Ministry cannot seek funds to do a particular road when we do not even know how much we need to ask or what standard we want to upgrade a road to. The design is, therefore, the first stage in seeking funds both locally and from donors. The reason a design has to be done is time. Over time, a lot of things change. There is an increase in human population, change of traffic levels and so on. Every time, before we do a project, it is necessary to do a design work. It is on that basis that the cost is established. We, therefore, cannot go look for money when we have no idea how much we are looking for.
Mr. Ombui, please, ask your last question. I think the answer to this is fairly elaborate.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the answer given by the Assistant Minister is not satisfactory. In August, 2008, the Assistant Minister said that the processing of the tenders would take approximately two months after which the contract will be awarded to a contractor. The Assistant Minister is now saying that they have designed the bridge and yet the tenders are supposed to have been awarded. I seek your indulgence, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that you refer this matter to the Implementation Committee because the answer given is not convincing.
Mr. Assistant Minister, in your answer, you said that the award of tenders for the construction of the new bridge is at an advanced stage. How much longer is it going to take before the contract is awarded? When you say âadvanced stageâ, the presumption is that it is just a matter of days or weeks!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have indicated that it will be done within this financial year which ends in June, 2010. We have already allocated the funds, but as you may be aware, the Ministry is also going through some reform process where we have the Rural Roads Authority (RRA), the National Highways Authority (NHA) and so on. I would like to apologize to the hon. Member if it has taken an unduly long time. We will ensure that that is done in good time.
Mr. Assistant Minister, there is an ambiguity in your answer. In part (b) of the answer, you said that the bridge will be constructed in this financial year. Now you are saying that the contracts will be awarded this financial year. There is a difference between awarding the contract and constructing the bridge itself. Could you, please, be more specific?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the tender will be awarded this year and the works will commence this year. The monies are available within the budget in this financial year. Indeed, the work will start this year.
asked the Minister of State for Public Service: (a) why officers in the police force are paid a flat rate of Kshs1,200 per month as hardship allowance irrespective of rank or length of service while other officers in the public service are paid at approximately 30 per cent of the basic salary; and, (b) what steps the Minister is taking to rectify the disparity, which is creating dissatisfaction in the force.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to answer. (a) Yes, the police force, like other civil servants are paid a hardship allowance at the rate of 30 per cent of an officerâs basic salary subject to a maximum of Kshs600 per month for single officers and Kshs1,200 per month for married officers. This is irrespective of the rank, job group or length of service. However, under the Teachers
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the core responsibility of the Police Force is detection, prevention and prosecution of offenders. That is a very important duty. Clearly, part âbâ of this Question asks what steps the Ministry is taking to rectify this disparity. The answer to the Question admits that officers in the Police Force are receiving less than what the regulations say, be they single or married. Could the Assistant Minister confirm, therefore, that the shortfall that the police officers have been receiving all along will be worked out and paid to them, so that they can feel satisfied like everybody else?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, officers in the Police Force are not earning any amount less than other civil servants. What I have indicated in my answer to part âaâ of the Question is that officers in the Police Force, like other civil servants, currently earn 30 per cent of their basic salary, but to a maximum of only Kshs600 per month for single officers and Kshs1,200 per month for married officers. This also applies to civil servants. It is the teachers who are treated differently. For them, this is not pegged on any limitation.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that disparity is admitted by even myself. I noticed it. What I am now asking is: What steps are being taken to rectify it, so that those who have been receiving less in the Police Force can receive the full amount?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the officers were being paid as per the regulations that have been in existence. The exercise that has brought about the changes was basically carried out to harmonise the disparities that existed between the Civil Service, in which the police are included, and the TSC. That is why we said that with effect from July, 2010, all public officers comprising of civil servants, police officers and teachers, will be brought together. There will be two benchmarks â Kshs5,000 for officers serving in moderately hardship areas and Kshs10,000 for those serving in extreme hardship areas â irrespective of oneâs marital status or job group.
Mr. Olago, are you satisfied?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am not satisfied.
Mr. Assistant Minister, if I got Mr. Olagoâs Question right, he is telling you that there are officers who have been getting less than their dues. Unmarried officers who have been getting less than Kshs600 and married officers who have been getting less than Kshs1,200 per month over a period of time. Is that not your position, Mr. Olago?
Yes, it is, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Assistant Minister, could you now confirm that this disparity did not exist? If it did exist, what are you doing to correct it?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am not aware of unmarried police officers serving in hardship areas, who earn less than Kshs600, or married officers serving in hardship areas who earn less than Kshs1,2000. If there are such officers, then there is something wrong, and the situation will be rectified and compensation made, as the hon. Member has asked. What I understand is that officers serving in hardship areas earn a monthly hardship allowance equivalent to 30 per cent of their basic salary to a maximum of Kshs600 for single officers and Kshs1,200 for married officers; be they in the Police Force or Civil Service. For teachers, it is different, and that is what we are harmonising.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I think there is something wrong in the way, I and the Assistant Minister understand this mathematics. He says, in his answer, that hardship allowance is worked out at the rate of 30 per cent of oneâs basic salary. However, officers in the Police Force receive a maximum of Kshs600 for single officers and Kshs1,200 for married officers. Clearly, Kshs600 is less than 30 per cent of a police officerâs basic salary. So, what happens to the balance?
Mr. Olago, until the changes are effected, the rule provides for a maximum of Kshs600 for single officers and Kshs1,200 for married officers. I think this was put in place when their salaries were far way below what they earn today. They are entitled to 30 per cent of their basic salaries, but to a maximum of Kshs600 for single officers and Kshs1,200 for married officers. Under the current circumstances, as you put it, there are, indeed, so many officers who would be entitled to much more than what they currently earn. The cap is there, but that is being changed now. That is the way I understand it.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, hon. Duale is saying that lawyers are good at words, and not in mathematics. That is not right. The regulation provides for a rate of 30 per cent, but maybe, due to Governmentâs inability to raise sufficient funds, police officers are receiving only Kshs600. But the regulation says â30 per cent.â
No! No! No! The regulation says â30 per cent, but to a maximum of Kshs600 for single officers.â That means if your 30 per cent goes beyond Kshs600 and you are single, you will not earn more than Kshs600.
That is very bad!
That is how it was!
Next Question, Mr. Danson Mungatana!
asked the Minister for Information and Communications:- (a) what is the total cost of the recently launched East African Marine Systems (TEMAS) project; (b) when the project will start actual operations;
Is the Minister for Information and Communication not here?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Minister has just walked out! He has left his documents here! So, we can give him a little more time.
To the best of the recollection of the Chair, the Minister for Information and Communications was under sanctions because of inability to answer the Question even last week. He has not approached the Chair to explain his absence or inability to answer the Question last week.
In any case, we will go back to Question No.2 by Private Notice.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, before I ask the Question, I want to apologise for not being here when the Question was, first, called out.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Finance the following Question by Private Notice.
(a) Considering that the US Dollar has declined in value by 15 per cent in the last 8 months, and the uncertainties around it as a world hard currency, are there specific risks the country is exposed to in the event of its further decline? (b) What steps or action is the Government taking to manage or alleviate the risk?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. (a) There are no specific risks facing the country as a result of the decline in value of the US Dollar. The appreciation of the Kenya Shilling against the US Dollar may reduce the profitability of Kenyan exporting firms and benefit importing firms. However, this is the correction to pre-global economic crisis level. The Kenya Shilling is thus correcting itself to where it was before. The exchange rate represents the relative price movements. This is the normal practice all over the world. (b) The Government has put in place measures to mitigate the impact on the exporting sector such as horticultural firms. Among the proposed measures is the granting of special economic zone status to such firms. In the short-term, the decline in the value of the US Dollar is expected to moderate rising international oil prices and reduce the cost of imported inputs, both of which are crucial to the economic recovery process. Above all, this is the correction after the crisis that distorted the value of the US Dollar. Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to thank the Assistant Minister for the attempt he has made to answer the Question. However, I do not think he has really understood my Question. He has accepted that the value of the US Dollar had gone down by 15 per cent in the last 18 months and this is not as a result of purely local economic factors. It has to do with some of the policies of the United States of America (USA) Government itself. The public debt of the USA is rising very highly. Other economies such as China, India and others are seeing those risks and have started taking precautionary measures. Are you aware of those risks and what measures are you taking? This is not purely internal. How are you handling the reserve? If it is purely in US Dollars, it means we are more exposed if anything were to happen. You will have no reserve to buy imports such as oil and the rest.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has taken adequate steps to protect our reserves from dependence on a single currency. This has already been done and is being monitored on a daily basis. I even replied to this Question earlier and assured the hon. Member that measures have been put in place to protect the Kenya Shilling against dependency on any single currency such as the US Dollar.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I wish to seek further clarification from the Assistant Minister. First, we would want to know the specific measures that have been put in place. In simple terms, from this decline in the dollar value, I understand that this Government had made a provision of Kshs160 billion to pay for its foreign debts. These debts are in various currencies and we are holding our reserves majorly in dollars. This means that a decline of 15 per cent means we are going to pay Kshs24 billion more. What measures are in place to cushion this? Is this not a specific risk to the economy?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the decline or appreciation of the US Dollar against the Kenya Shilling was a result of the appetite for people to invest in dollars. People were taking dollars and because of that, the currencies depreciated their values. This is part of what was called the toxic assets. When people realized that the dollar was actually speculative and that it was not such a safe asset to invest in, people started withdrawing from the dollar. Some were going to invest in gold. You heard the case in Indonesia of 21 tonnes of gold. As a result of this, the Kenya Shilling is correcting itself to the pre-crisis level. This is a correction which is happening as a result of the global process of movement of currencies in the whole world. Therefore, the Kenya Government does not even need to take any specific measures to protect itself. This is a correction. Before the crisis started, the Kenya Shilling was at Kshs75 to the US Dollar. It then shot up to Kshs80 to the US Dollar. However, because of the correction and people withdrawing their appetite from the toxic asset, it has more or less come back to where it was. We are simply monitoring and cushioning our shilling against dependence on the dollar or any other single currency.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I sought clarification or confirmation from the Assistant Minister whether the fear that we are going to pay Kshs24 billion more on our debts is real or not real, given the decline in the dollar value? Could he specifically deal with that?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, that calculation has not been done specifically. Debts are not paid at once. Debts are paid in installments. It is possible that because of the differential in the value of the Kenya Shilling during the crisis period, we paid more than what we should have paid. I do not know where the hon. Member got his figure of Kshs24 billion. I cannot confirm that.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, one of the problems that have affected this country is the variation of the Kenya Shilling vis-a-vis the foreign currencies. What is the Ministry doing to cushion exporters against this variation? Once it is stronger, it does not allow exporters to get enough value for their export yet the importers bring in goods at a cheaper price which does not translate to low cost of commodity to consumers. What will the Assistant Minister do now so that this is corrected through a deliberate move by the Government?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the fluctuation in the value of currencies is a double-edged process. When the shilling gets weaker, it advantages the exporters and disadvantages the importers. This is because those who import, only import capital goods, some of which are raw materials for our industries. When the shilling becomes weaker there is a lot of pressure for us in the Treasury on how to cushion importers against this. During the crisis, this was very serious. There are some importers who had made orders and within less than a month the shilling shot up from Kshs75 to the US dollar to Kshs80 to the US dollar. I know one importer who lost Kshs40 million. At that time, exporters were enjoying. When the shilling becomes stronger, they are disadvantaged. Therefore, there is some kind of balancing in the free market and it is very difficult to take any specific measures. We are, however, thinking about creating specific zones for some specific items. I know my friend is involved in the flower industry. We will see how to protect them and cushion them against adverse effects of fluctuations of currencies.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, this is a serious matter to the country. The issue of the dollar strength is not just a matter of chance. It is a matter of the American Government taking some decisions on whether they want more exports or more imports. In this country, we have people who survive on this dollar business. For example, most of us are tea and coffee farmers. All these depend on the dollar. It is, therefore, unfair to expect these farmers to be oscillating as if they are in a casino. What measures can the Assistant Minister undertake to confirm to this House that our people are protected so that our economy can start growing in a definite manner?
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, in this country, we used to have an Exchange Control Act, which was repealed. Therefore, we went into a free market where the Shilling is exposed to all the other currencies of the world. We have a free market; the inflow and outflow of the currencies determines the value, the weakness or the strength of the Shilling. It is not the strength of the Dollar; you are talking about the strength and the weakness of our Kenya Shilling in the free market. So it is really unless the hon. Member is suggesting that we go back to exchange control measures, it is very difficult for me to---
The last Question on this Mr. Baiya!
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I have understood the Assistant Minister to say that they have taken measures to reduce the countryâs dependency on one currency, specifically the Dollar. I would want him to tell us what measures he has taken. This is
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I was giving the example of gold because we are also now taking measures to keep our reserves not only in the dollar, but also in all the other convertible currencies, so that we do not solely depend on one currency. We are monitoring the movement of all these currencies on a daily basis at the Central Bank, to make sure that we are not dependent on a single currency.
Question No.40, Mr. Lekuton! Can you ask the Question again?
asked the Minister for Housing what action he was taking to assist Kenyans who are unable to obtain housing loans from commercial banks.
The Minister for Housing! The Minister for Housing! As the rule goes, the Minister for Housing, under the circumstances, will not transact any business in the House until such a time that he or she explains himself fully as to why he is not able to answer this Question today. The Question is deferred to a time when the Minister will be available. Indeed, it should be deferred to Tuesday next week, and the Minister has to be available then. Question No. 341, Mr. Mungatana!
asked the Minister for Information and Communications.
(a) whether he could give the total cost of the recently launched East African Marine Systems (TEAMS) project;
(b) when the project will start actual operations;
(c) what security measures are in place to ensure safety of the fibre optic cables; and
(d) what steps the Minister is taking to ensure optimum use of the facility, considering that very few Kenyans own computers.
Minister for Information and Communications! Minister for Information and Communications!
Honorable Assistant Minister, your Ministry was under sanctions last week for failing to answer Questions. You were here in the House this morning and then disappeared. This Question is deferred to tomorrow afternoon but in the meantime, can you approach the Chair and explain why you were not able to conform with the provisions of the Standing Orders? Next Order!
Thank you Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I rise to seek a Ministerial Statement from the Minister for Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs, regarding the state of affairs of the High Court of Kenya in one of the stations in the Rift Valley Province. In that statement the Minister should disclose whether or not, the Judicial Service Commission is aware of the reasons behind the current strike by lawyers in that area against a particular judge, and whether the Commission is further aware that this judge is facing a High court civil suit arising out of an assault she committed on a member of the public, a conduct that is disorderly. If so, why has the JSC not taken any steps since this action was filed in the High court to make recommendations for the setting up of a tribunal to investigate the conduct of this judge with a view to having her removed from the judiciary.
Minister! Can a Minister from the Government give an undertaking on behalf of the ---
I undertake to inform the Minister; maybe, he will give Ministerial Statement next week on Thursday.
A Ministerial Statement will be available next week onThursday. Are you comfortable with that Mr. Imanyara?
Yes, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir.
It is ordered that a Ministerial Statement be available on Thursday, next week. Yes Mr. Wamalwa!
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I rise to ask for a Ministerial Statement from the Minister for Agriculture in respect of payments to farmers. In the Statement, I would like the Minister to indicate how much is owed to farmers for maize delivered to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) so far, and when the outstanding amount will be paid to the farmers. I would also like the Minister to confirm when the Government will start paying farmers cash on delivery of
Thank you Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I will communicate the same to the Minister for Agriculture and a Ministerial Statement will be issued next week, on Wednesday afternoon.
The Statement will be ready on Wednesday afternoon next week. Next Order! Eng. Maina!
Thank you Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir. I now move on with contribution to my Bill, the Price Control Bill. I had only about 15 minutes earlier and I would wish to touch on a few introductory remarks which I made.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this Bill has become necessary due to the undesired situation in this country, where the cost of essential commodities has sky-rocketed beyond the common manâs reach. Last year, I brought a motion to this House regarding this Bill, and the Government acknowledged that the situation in the country was grave; it promised the House, and this nation, indeed, that it was taking measures to ensure that the price of commodities, especially maize meal, would be put under control by introduction of two packets of unga, one to cost Kshs52 and the other, for the well to do, to cost Kshs72. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, we are all aware that no such a thing has occurred in this country. Therefore, the price of commodities, including unga, which the Government wanted to waive tax on to make them affordable to the common mwananchi never materialized. So, this made me to proceed with my Motion and hence, the Bill. I would like to say that exploitation of man by man is an old adage. This is not in history but in the books which we read, like the old Bible and the Koran, where man has been warned against exploitation. This is what we are witnessing in this country. With regard
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to second this important Bill. As I second this Bill, I want to thank my good friend and senior colleague in the profession of engineering, Eng. Maina, for coming up with such a Bill. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, as I came to second this Bill, I was reminded of a very interesting incident which occurred more than six years ago. That is was on Saturday the 25th January, 2003. I was walking along Parliament Road when I met a young man aged, probably 20 years or under; putting on a T-Shirt with very bold prints which were simply saying: âWhere were you on 30th December, 2002?â Of course, it was clear to me, what had happened on that date, but six years is a long time. So, for my colleagues who may have forgotten, I just want to remind them that on 30th December, 2002, the main event which happened in Kenya, is that it was the day that His Excellency the Hon. Mwai Kibaki was sworn in as the Third President of the Republic of Kenya. That day was significant in so many ways because on that day, even those who did not go to Uhuru
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to support this Bill. Ordinarily, as a trained and practicing economist, I would be very averse to support anything that limits the free movement of goods and services, being a firm believer in perfect competition as a market model. But we have just witnessed that even the free markets sometimes fail. This is an assumption that is accepted in the economic theory. There are times when you need to make serious State interventions and that is what has happened with the financial economic meltdown in the US since the âbrothersâ decided to cause havoc to the rest of the world. This Bill, if you look at it, is not advocating controlling prices. In fact, my good friend hon. Ephraim Maina, has put it very well that it is the price control of (essential goods). That is the crux of the matter. It is about essential goods in terms of basic provisions. That is what we would ordinarily call the basket of goods that every household must be entitled to. This Bill is promoting a situation where a Government should ensure that every citizen of the Republic shall not die because of want of basic services or goods, particularly, things like wheat and maize flour which is the staple food of this country. We must guarantee that. Therefore, we should not look at it in the narrow sense of curtailing an economic model which has been practiced and warranted. Article 2 spells out the essential goods. They are the goods that will ensure that every household has some food and will not starve. They are essential, given that 10 million Kenyans, as we speak today, are beneficiaries of famine relief food. In any case, the Government has an obligation to provide food to its citizens. It is providing food now through famine relief programmes. It is spending a lot of money on that. The Government needs to be creative. If you think that we cannot determine the prices, the Government can put up a stabilization fund that would ensure that the fluctuations are taken care of for the sake of producers such as those in the grain basket of this country. I know that my friend, Dr. Wekesa, may be sitting here for the purpose of ensuring that the producers of the commodities do not suffer. In the agricultural policy of the USA, you will find that the nation gives incentives to farmers not to produce certain commodities or crops, so that they do not depress the prices of particular commodities.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, the Government should look at the situation on the ground so that it can protect both the producer and the consumer. The Government should also ensure that it has a generation that has food on the table. The food should contain enough nutrients. To that extent, I feel like this Bill has come at an opportune moment. I think this is the only country where the price of bottled water is higher than the price of petrol and yet we import the latter unlike the former which we tap from springs. How come a basic and essential commodity like water, and we say water is life, can be
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I rise to contribute to this Bill. It is my desire that we reduce the prices of basic commodities in order to make them affordable to the common person. I am aware that life has become unbearable in respect to certain categories of our population. Some families cannot afford food, shelter and medical care. I believe there is a strong case for intervention by the Government by way of ensuring that there are subsidies, especially for food. People will ask: What does that mean? Does it mean higher taxes? Does it mean certain categories of our population will pay more to make this possible? I think that through a carefully crafted scheme, it is possible to subsidize food to make life bearable to most of those people without increasing taxes. As a Member of Parliament, once a week, I have a session with my constituents in Nairobi, and my experience is absolutely astonishing. Somebody will come and tell you that he was a casual worker but he has lost his job. He will further tell you that he lives with his family, the landlord has locked them out, the whole family is out in the cold and he wants you to assist him. Somebody else will come and tell you that he has a patient at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and they are unable to raise the hospital bill and, therefore, you should help them. Somebody else will tell you that he has lost a family member in a hospital and is unable to raise money to get the body out. These are the cases we receive as Members of Parliament from time to time and it is for this reason that I feel that there is need for an intervention. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we must also be careful and remember where we have come from. We have come from a regime which had price control, and it is also not a perfect situation. I remember the long queues that we used to have at the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) trying to get foreign exchange to travel out of the country. Those queues are no longer there because we liberalized the market. I have a private-sector background. I used to work for East African Breweries. In those days, the Government set prices for beer, cigarettes and other commodities. All we needed to do was to make sure that we maintained good relations with the people at the Treasury so that they could set the prices that we wanted to make the kind of profits we needed to declare dividends at the rate we wanted. That is not the kind of thing that we want. To a certain extent, I agree that the free market economy forces have determined prices and facilitated distribution of goods in a more sensible way. However, it is not acceptable to see what we are seeing today in
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I stand to support this Bill. I wish to congratulate Eng. Maina for bringing it to this House. In fact, it was long overdue.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, price control is an essential part of development. We know the French Revolution and even the ones that gave birth to Christianity, Islam and Judaism were as a result of high prices of basic goods. As much as we understand and appreciate free market ideology, there is no free market anywhere in the world. We have travelled far and wide. All markets of the world have certain controls whether visible or invisible. It is our cardinal responsibility to provide bread, unga and other basic foodstuffs to our electorates. At Independence, politicians were agitating for food, security, clothing, health, housing, among other things, for their people. Why are we now failing to help our people? Kenya has been seen as a model of free economy in this part of Africa. What have we got from it? We have very rich people. There was an eminent politician who said one time if we were not careful we will end up having ten millionaires and ten million beggars. It appears now that we may have 30 billionaires and 30 million beggars who cannot afford basic needs, if we are not careful. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, price control is being fixed everywhere in the world. The other day, I was in Pakistan where they have fixed price control on bread commonly known as roti. It is being retailed at Kshs2. In a free market, it would go for Kshs7. It is now accessible to many Pakistanis, especially the working class.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, from the outset, let me thank Eng. Maina for bringing this important Bill to this House. It is really nice when engineers venture into economic world, unlike their familiar grounds.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like also to thank Kenyans for shouldering the burden of uncontrolled prices for a long time. We know that in certain African countries, normally when price of flour is increased by about a cent, people go on strike. Yet, Kenyans, when prices are increased by quite substantial amounts, they have remained faithful to their country and have never gone to the streets to demonstrate. I am talking about against what happened early this year. The Government tried to give subsidized maize flour. We all know what happened later, but Kenyans never complained. I want to thank them for this. But nevertheless, I do not think, we, as Members of Parliament, should take Kenyans for granted while they continue to suffer.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I am supporting the Price Control (Essential Commodities) Bill, although I still believe in free market enterprise. However, free enterprise should not be used to enrich a few people while the masses who elected us continue suffering. In this yearâs Budget, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance introduced a number of incentives aimed at cushioning the vulnerable groups such as the poor in the urban and rural areas, disabled, mentally handicapped and physically disabled. He also allocated substantial amount of money to support social welfare programmes. However, without proper price controls, our people will not benefit from these programmes he put in place. As I am talking now, the prices of most
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, having recognized that I have done a lot of exercises this morning, I would like to thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this wonderful Bill. It is a good Bill by the Member of Parliament for Mathira, because access to food commodities is a basic human right, which is enshrined in the constitution. In fact, by allowing our Kenyans to sometimes die, because they do not have food, then we are violating that basic human right; no country will allow its citizenry to die because they lack food. Therefore, I support this Bill, knowing very well that this country imports a lot of food. By importing this food, we are creating employment in foreign lands while impoverishing our own people. I do not see why we pay billions of shillings for food and when it reaches here, we distribute it free of charge to our own people. By doing that, we are essentially creating a dependence syndrome. Our people will not have any more incentive to go and farm, because we import food for them. That importation of food has gone to create employment in foreign lands, while here, we give it out on a continuous basis to our people. These days, you find people saying: âThe Government brought us maize but did not bring us rice and oil.â This shows that we have reached a point where our people are depending so much on relief food. Recently, they said: âWe have been given maize to plant but where is the fertilizer?â, yet we are importing all these food commodities into our own country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, one classic example we should look at is the American states. They have refused to remove the subsidy on cotton, which is grown there. This subject has been discussed by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), but they have said they will continue subsidising their cotton. When you are in America, you can buy a pair of jean trousers for one Dollar. Here, in this country, unless you buy mitumba, you cannot get good clothes, because our cotton is not subsidised. We are importing yarn, and you will find that other developed countries have the mechanism for subsidizing their own farming. For instance, they subsidise . When you produce, the government gives you a certain stipend to make sure that when you are producing, you are doing so at a lower cost. When you are marketing, they also subsidise that marketing; so, that the developing countries, which include Kenya, will always continue to depend on them, thinking that, that is charity, yet it is not. We are only enriching other countries and making our country poorer. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to say that this is a very good Bill, because it is not introducing price control mechanisms, which were there in the 1980s and 1990s. We are saying that we select, as the Chair says, some items from the basket of commodities that make our people survive. If you go to India, they subsidise production of items for the poor people, so that they are able to go and buy commodities that they can afford. Recently, we introduced two prices of unga or maize flour. One packet of maize meal was going for Kshs56 and the other at Kshs76 for the poor and rich, respectively. What happened to those two sets of prices? Nobody knows. So, that was a
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. There are two theories that compete in our market place; one is the view that we should let the market forces determine the prices of our goods. This is very attractive. The others say that the market forces are not necessarily in the interest of the majority of our people and, therefore, there is need for intervention in the market place so that our people can survive. It is very important that when we are talking of essential goods, we are talking about food and may be drugs.
It is Mwalimu Nyerere who, at one time said that, if you want to be toppled from a Government, let your people go hungry. If you really want to be overthrown, then try to let your people sleep without food. And because I am in the Government, I am very sensitive to this idea. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, if you look at the recent history, the Soviet Empire collapsed because they could not feed their people until America brought them food and started to subsidize their own heating for their homes. That is when it collapsed. It was so weak that it could not control very little republics that ran away from the federation. But the same Mwalimu Nyerere went to see Reagan to borrow food and Reagan told him that he does not have any maize. That the only maize he had was for his horses. Nyerere told him: âYou know, even that one of horses is good enough for my people.â But Reagan told him: âI am not going to give you maize for horses. What I will do is, I will give you two farmers from California.â California is a desert like most parts of Kenya. Nyerere told him: âYou, Reagan, you came to politics the other day, you do not know what I am talking about. If you do not have any maize to give me, I am going away.â But what he was telling him was that, you can revolutionize agriculture in your own country and produce sufficient food to feed your people. But Nyerere did not take it
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this Bill. I want to thank the hon. Ephraim Maina for the timely introduction of this Bill because this is really one of the most important Bills. It is what I would term, âthe Bill for the peopleâ. It is sad that in Kenya, we have many families who cannot afford even one meal a day for their families. Of course, if this continues, you understand that it is a situation that can easily result into a revolution, because a hungry population is a very dangerous population. I support this Bill fully and I feel that people should be able to afford, at least, two meals a day regardless of their position in society. The situation today is such that only the rich can afford three expensive meals a day and yet for the poor people even getting Kshs50 to spend on food a day is a problem. I support the price control on essential goods like unga and fuel. By controlling the price of fuel, the cost of transport will go down and the majority of Kenyans will be in a position to travel. At the moment, travelling is too expensive and one only needs to go to Mathare or Kibera and wake up at about 4.00 a.m., and you see the mass of people trekking into town. They are not doing that because they want to or they like it, rather it is because they cannot afford the transport. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, this is a country where at one time, we were big growers of cotton. At the moment, the entire population consisting of our wives, daughters and sisters are specialist in wearing mitumbas . They do not wear mitumba because they like them. It is degradation for anybody to go and buy mtumba underpants, but our people are forced to do this because they cannot afford new clothes. The traders have been left on the loose and they want to make so much money in total disregard to the rest of the population that has been relegated to the dustbins.
A famous African, the late Julius Kambarage Nyerere, once termed this country as âa man eat man societyâ. Even at the present time, we are still âa man eat man societyâ because we do not really care about the condition and position of our poor at all. Maybe, it is a time when one would even wish that a situation like small revolution may be able to pass the warning. Perhaps, that would be a wake-up call for this country. I would like to see this price control brought in like yesterday. I ask the Government to fully support it.
When you look at the condition of housing in this country, many people cannot afford decent houses. If we could introduce price control on building materials such as cement and iron sheets, at least, the majority of our people will be able to live like normal human beings. At the moment, it is very possible to find a decent family living under carton roofs. In the evening, you will find them busy collecting cartons which they use to construct structures to live in. In the face of this, we still pride ourselves as leaders in this country and yet those we are leading cannot even have decent housing.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not want to repeat myself as most of my colleagues have ventilated quite effectively on the reasons for supporting this Bill. I strongly support this Bill and ask the Government to fully rally behind us.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity. As my colleagues have said, I also want to add my voice to support very
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity to support this Bill. I would like to congratulate Eng. Maina for bringing this time Bill. Price controls are ordinarily deemed as anti-free enterprise. I would, therefore, be very hesitant to support blanket private control as it would stifle investment. However, as has been indicated by Mr. Yinda, we need to deal with a society that has turned into âa man eat manâ society. It is increasingly becoming âa man eat womanâ society and âa man eat childrenâ society. I am saying that because poverty has been feminized. The face of poverty, as has been said by Dr. Laboso, is that of a woman and increasingly that of a child. If we are able to deal with pricing in a way that protects our women and children, then that should be the reason I support this Bill. If you actually look at the Bill, it only focuses on essential commodities. It does not offer blanket control. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, as indicated again by Dr. Laboso, it would actually help the country to deal with and realise our Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Nos.1, 4 and 5 on poverty eradication, child mortality and maternal mortality. However, the hon. Member may need to look at Article 4A. We need to think through it again as it has a potential for bringing inequalities if we go about giving different prices by regions. I know that we want to look at issues of productivity and all other related issues, but going by our history, we often do not use objective standards. Therefore, when we provide controls, they should be uniform across the country. Doing so, we will also limit corruption or temptation towards corruption. In the Bill, there is reference to regulations. However, since the Bill is very small, I wish that certain regulations could be encompassed within it, so that we do not give room for manipulation. If you look at the Harmonised Draft Constitution, you will see that it looks into the issue of third generation rights, which we also refer to as economic rights. One of the ways of actualising these rights is through systems like the one proposed in this Bill. One of the challenges that has been raised over the issue of
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I rise to support the Bill. I want to start by saying that, indeed, it has been repeated time and again that it is a core function of the Government to protect and look into the well being of its citizens. A Government that does not look into the welfare of its citizens has no reason existing. In the running of economies the world over, on the far right is a case for capitalism, while on the far left is a case for socialism. For every extreme, there is always a harmonised ideology. That harmonised ideology is socio-capitalism. What I mean by this is, much as it is fashionable for our Government to talk of free markets in the name of laissez faire, our Government has, by practice, practised double standards in this aspect. Whenever time came for us to prepare so that we could have an affordable lifestyle in Kenya, our Government always wobbled. I say this with specific examples in mind. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, it is imperative that a country is able to feed its citizens. In order for a country to feed its citizens, it needs to invest in agriculture. Our
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, thank you for recognizing my presence and my need to support this Bill. I want to thank Eng. Maina for the Bill that he has brought in this House. We are supporting this Bill because it talks of essential commodities. When you look at our Government, we are even practicing double standards. When it comes to buying maize from farmers or fertilizers by farmers, the prices are almost controlled. However, when it comes to buying the flour or any other essential commodity, there is no comparison. Farmers are even now discouraged to plant because at the end of the day they sell a 90 kilogramme bag at a price of Kshs2, 000. On the other hand, a two-kilogramme packet of flour is Kshs100. Farmers really feel discouraged. They wonder why their products are sold at a very high price by the brokers or millers. Farmers are very discouraged. Lack of price control for essential commodities has even made it very hard for Kenyans to plan. You cannot say that out of your salary you can save 5 per cent because before you even save it, prices of essential commodities rise far beyond your economic reach. This has encouraged the Government to go the wrong way. Instead of subsidizing for farmers, they have decided to bring in free food. I wonder how long these foods will feed Kenyans. Currently, if farmers are discouraged, it means we have to import food and give Kenyans. The Government should turn around and instead of buying food for Kenyans, subsidize farming so that we can be self-sufficient. That will control prices because if all farmers can generate income from that, they will afford to buy whatever foods they want from the good returns that they get. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not want to repeat what others have said. Whenever we come here in June we only reduce taxes so that food prices can go down. However, we are not able to control food prices because we have a free market. Instead of reducing taxation, the Government should control prices for essential foods. Most things have been said and I see other Members also want to contribute. With those few remarks, I support.
Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, I really appreciate the efforts of Eng. Maina and I wish to support this Bill. Normally, when Parliament discusses price control, the business people think we have war with them. That is not the case. In fact, if prices go down, the volume of their sales will be bigger and they will get more profit. If one was selling 1,000 kilogrammes of maize at Kshs5per kilogramme and then they are told to sell at Kshs2 because of price control, I am sure they will sell 3,000 kilogrammes. That way, they will get a profit of Kshs6, 000.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to support the Bill. I had a discussion with my friend, Eng. Maina, an argument actually, of the merits of this particular Bill, because I am one of the people who really believe in a free market economy. But after a lengthy discussion I stand here to say that at least this Bill has merits that need to be supported. A perfectly competitive market has an infinite number of buyers and an infinite number of sellers. Let me make it a bit realistic by saying that it has many buyers and many sellers. But in the case of our country, we have a market distortion, or we have a distortion in the economy. For that matter we need to correct it. If you look at the case of banks, you will realize that that they make huge profits and charge very high interest rates, but at the same time they give very low interest rates on deposits. Despite the numerous number of banks that we have in this country they cannot correct themselves. So, if we assume that the market will correct itself, our people will continue to suffer. Someone said that we have never had food riots in this country, but I think we have had something similar to food riots. For the first time in the history of this country, a head of State has been heckled, at least in public, while attending a public function because of food. That happened last year. So, we should not wait for full scale food riots in this country; we should not wait for the citizens of this country to start protesting that prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed for us to act. Sometimes the inflationary pressure in this country cannot be explained, because it is unjustified. If you look at the current thinking of Government, it is trying to make cash transfers to people who are considered vulnerable; poor in the country but this would not be necessary if we controlled the prices of goods, and if the prices of essential commodities were affordable. For that reason I think it is high time that, as a country, we looked at the prices of essential commodities, and we know them. In fact, essential goods are basically goods
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, you know there are very few people who are controlling these prices, be it the price of fuel or that of grains. There are basically cartels of thieves. This Parliament must do more. I want to implore my friend, Eng Maina, to widen this list when we go to pass the Bill. He should include every item which affects the lives of our people; in fact we should have a Town Hall meeting; let Kenyans tell us which items, they want the prices controlled. There is no way our people can live with the current prices of u nga . We are courting a revolution! Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, recently, the Government bought bags of maize at Kshs2,600 each to sell to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) at Kshs1,750. That move did not bring down the price of maize meal. In fact, a few politically well-connected people made a lot of money while Kenyans were dying in drought-stricken areas. We must make sure that we control the prices of what our people consume.
On fuel that people use for general production, if you watched the CNN at night, you heard it say that the price of a barrel of oil has gone down. However, the pump prices of fuel do not reduce in Kenya as the world oil prices come down. But if the world oil prices go up when our petroleum companies have stock, all our petrol stations increase prices the following morning. If this Parliament cannot break this cartel, we have no business being the peopleâs representatives. I thank Eng. Maina and ask him to draw the list of those commodities. Even if it will include a million items, we will support him. I have seen the opposition from the Treasury and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) but let them be forewarned that we will be on the side of the people when it comes to necessities that our people consume.
With those few remarks, I beg to support this Bill.
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, for giving me this opportunity. The most important things that were supposed to have been said in respect to this very important Bill have already been raised by the hon. Members who have spoken.
This Bill is addressing the basic requirements that ought to be made available to Kenyans at affordable prices. For example, it has become impossible for the vulnerable to access food in this country. This is because most of the food that is available in this country today is imported rather than generated locally. Why is this so? This country can afford to feed her people. It can also afford to produce enough sugar at affordable prices but because there has been laxity in our society, little has been done to ensure that there is enough food. The construction of huge dams by the Government this year is a move in the right direction in addressing food problems in our country. One of the basic requirements, as
On a point of order, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. You will note that we have contributed to this Bill and hon. Members are actually repeating themselves. Would I be in order to request that the Mover be now called upon to reply?
Hon. Dr. Otichilo, did you have an opportunity to contribute to this Bill?
No, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir.
All right! Hon. Members, going by the mood of the House, I will now put the Question.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I do not know whether I will be in order if I give an hon. Member one minute to say something before I conclude.
You can go ahead!
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, before I conclude, I would like to ask my friend, hon. Mwaita, to say one or two things.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I had requested my colleague to donate a minute to me, so that I can also air my view that I support this important Bill to control the prices of essential commodities in this country. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, as we know, a hungry man is a dangerous man in this country. When we control the price of maize meal, for example, it will assist our people. We know what happened early in the year, when the price of maize meal nearly doubled. So, this Bill is timely. I wish to support what hon. Midiwo said. We should widen the scale and include all the other essential commodities and not only food. It is very important to control even the prices of clothes. Cartels which seem to be taking over a number of areas need to be brought under this Bill. I beg to support.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I thank you for allowing me time to move this Bill. I want to thank my fellow hon. Members and, in particular, the Ministers who contributed and supported this Bill. Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I need not repeat myself. Let us look at the forefathers of Africa. Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, who has been quoted here several times, was once was asked by a journalist: âWhy are you getting food for your people from South Africa, which is practicing apartheid?â And said: âI would not mind going to hell to get food, if that is where it is available.â Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, let us not take our people for granted when it comes to issues regarding unga and all the other essential commodities in this country. I think Kenyans are extremely patient people, but we have witnessed very ugly incidents in
Thank you, Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir. I beg to move the following Motion:- THAT, aware that the practice of herbal medicine and use of herbal pharmaceutical products is widespread in Kenya today in spite of lack of a clear policy and legal framework; appreciating the need to establish a policy and legal framework to facilitate the practice of herbal medicine and recognition of herbal pharmaceutical products; this House urges the Government to formulate a policy and legislative framework for the practice of herbal medicine and use of herbal pharmaceutical products, including establishing the necessary institutional oversights and regulatory bodies, standards of practice and for matters incidental thereto and connected therewith.
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, human kind dependence on herbal medicine is believed to be nearly as old as` creation itself. Indeed, some evolution theorists believe
Mr. Temporary Deputy Speaker, Sir, I would like to second this Motion. I thank Eng. Gumbo for coming up with this very important Motion. In the olden days when there was tragedy in the village, people would visit the forest, rivers and lakes to seek intervention from the gods. When there was an ailment, the ancient society always visited the forest to treat its sick. In fact, as we speak, traditionally, the African
Order! Mr. Wamalwa, you will have eight additional minutes next time when debate on this Motion resumes. Hon. Members, that concludes the business on the Order Paper. Therefore, the House stands adjourned until this afternoon at 2.30 p.m.
The House rose at 12.30 p.m.