I direct that the Quorum Bell be rung for 10 minutes.
Okay. We may proceed.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, remembering that today is the International Women’s Day, I pass my congratulatory message and wish the women of this country a beautiful day. I beg to lay the following Papers on the Table of the House: Report of the Auditor-General on Ziwa Technical Training Institute for the year ended 30th June 2019 and 30th June 2020, and the certificates therein. Reports of the Auditor-General and Financial Statements in respect of the following institutions for the year ended 30th June 2021, and the certificates therein: (a) Ziwa Technical Training Institute; (b) Witness Protection Agency Staff Motor Car Loan Scheme Fund; (c) Public Procurement Regulatory Authority; (d) Policyholders Compensation Fund; (e) Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation; (f) Petroleum Training Levy Fund; (g) National Research Fund; (h) Council of Governors; (i) Kenya National Innovation Agency (KENIA); (j) Kenya Trade Network Agency (KENTRADE); (k) Simlaw Seeds Company Uganda Limited; and, (l) Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. Reports of the Auditor-General and Financial Statements in respect of the following institutions for the year ended 30th June 2022 and the certificates therein: (a) The Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC); (b) The Coordination of Population Policy Implementation Project (UNFPA-KEN09POP), National Council for Population and Development; (c) The Kenya Institutional Strengthening Project Phase XII (No. UNEP/KEN/SEV/86/INS/64), Ministry of Environment and Forestry; 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.
(d) The Affordable Housing Finance Project (IDA Credit No.8958-KE), the National Treasury; (e) The dualling of Magongo Road (A109L), Phase II (FIDIC EPC/Turnkey based), the Kenya National Highways Authority; (f) The National Intelligence Service; (g) State Department for Trade and Enterprise Development; (h) The Northern Corridor Rehabilitation Programme Phase III, the Kenya National Highways Authority; (i) Port Reitz/Moi International Airport access (C110) road (FIDIC EPC/turnkey based) Project - Kenya National Highways Authority; (j) The Nuno-Modogashe Road Project - Kenya National Highways Authority. The County Governments Budget Implementation Review Report for the first half of the 2022/2023 Financial Year.
Hon. Baya, I think there is another report for the Leader of the Majority Party. Hon. Samwel Chepkonga, the Chairperson of the Committee on Delegated Legislation.
Thank you, Hon. Speaker. I beg to lay the following Paper on the Table of the House: The Report of the Committee on Delegated Legislation on its consideration of the Draft Salaries and Remuneration Commission (Remuneration and Benefits of State and other Public Officers), Regulations 2022.
I beg to give notice of the following Motion: THAT, this House adopts the Report of the Committee on Delegated Legislation on its consideration of the Draft Salaries and Remuneration Commission (Remuneration and Benefits of State and other Public Officers), Regulations 2022, laid on the Table of the House on 8th Wednesday March 2023; and, pursuant to the provisions of Section 26 (2) of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission Act of 2011, rejects the Draft Salaries and Remuneration Commission (Remuneration and Benefits of State and other Public Officers), Regulations 2022. I thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
On a point of order.
Yes, what is your point of order?
I think it is important for us to maintain the traditions of this House. The Member for Kiminini has crossed the Floor without following the procedure. He has been moving from this side of the House to the other at will without bowing to the Chair. It is important for us to inform the monos to go to the Bar, bow to the Chair and then come back. 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 believe he will confirm that he is duly informed and educated.
I can confirm on his behalf.
Can you confirm on his behalf? Thank you.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I beg to ask the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Forestry the following Question by Private Notice: (a) Could the Cabinet Secretary explain whether the Ministry has plans to conduct the planned recruitment of the Kenya Forest Service Rangers (KFS) at the sub-county level? (b) Could the Cabinet Secretary explain measures put in place by the Ministry to curb intra-county marginalisation during the recruitment of the Kenya Forest Service Rangers, particularly in cosmopolitan counties, to enhance equity? Hon. Deputy Speaker, can I say a word? The recruitment is happening today. For those of us who come from cosmopolitan counties, the distance from Lokis to Kabarnet is more than 600 kilometres. We do not expect hustlers travelling all the way from Lokis to Kabarnet to reach there and get a fair chance of recruitment. There is no public transport. One has to hire a motorbike up to Chemolingot, which is almost another 300 kilometres, to get to Kabarnet. I wish you could intervene and make some orders because this is a bit urgent.
Hon. Kamket, this Question is referred to the Departmental Committee on Environment, Forestry and Mining. They can be requested to take it as an urgent matter. They have a meeting tomorrow. Member for Kitui West, Hon. Edith Nyenze, do you have a Question?
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I am not ready for the Question right now. So, it can pass. I was not aware.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I am sorry for that confusion. I rise to ask the Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum the following Question: (a) Could the Cabinet Secretary explain why for every purchase of pre-paid electricity tokens, nearly 62 per cent of the purchase amount is charged as taxes and other levies, leaving consumers with only an estimated 37.8 per cent for tokens? 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.
(b) What measures has the Ministry put in place to address taxes levied on electricity charges in order to ensure the power necessary to spur economic growth remains affordable to consumers? Thank you.
Thank you, Member for Kitui West, Hon. Edith Nyenze. Your Question is referred to the Departmental Committee on Energy. Question No. 23/2023 by the Member for Mwea, Hon. Mary Maingi, is hereby deferred to a later date as she has other duties today.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, I rise to ask the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage the following Question: Could the Cabinet Secretary – (a) Explain the steps being taken to contain wild animals in Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks in Taita Taveta County within the parks and end invasion of human settlements in Kishushe, Mlilo, Paranga, Marungu, Mwaroko Sagalla, Kasigau, Mbololo, Ndii, Ngolia and Mabomani, Landi, Rong'e, Mwatate, Bura, Mkuki, Maktau, Salaita, Tangini, Njoro, Mata, Orkung’u, Kachero, Jipe and Mkwajuni? (b) Confirm whether the electric fence around the parks is working, and when the section without an electric fence will be fenced? (c) Consider alternative interventions to wildlife invasion in Taita Taveta like a dedicated helicopter and hiring of youth from within the county to provide immediate response to wildlife invasion as game rangers and scouts, given the long turnaround time taken by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers to respond to wildlife invasion? (d) List watering points in the Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, including the state of Aruba Dam and steps being taken to ensure that the dam continues to provide water to the animals within the parks? (e) Provide details of the number of claims arising from wildlife attacks in Taita Taveta County in the last seven years, how many have been submitted, approved and paid, and when pending claims will be paid? Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
Thank you, Member for Wundanyi. Your Question will be replied to before the Departmental Committee on Tourism and Wildlife. 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 thought I had seen the Member for Laisamis around. Since he has not arrived, his Question No.24/2023 is hereby deferred to a later date.
On a point of order, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
What is your point of order?
Hon. Deputy Speaker, it is the tradition of this House that when a Member has a Question listed on the Order Paper, he avails himself to ensure that he asks it. If we continue with this trend, we are going to lose what Parliament stands for: order, records and many things that are orderly. There are two Members whose Questions have been left out. Because these two Questions are placed on the Order Paper, they occupy space. We now have Members whose Questions are in the Order Paper but they are absent. Someone else would have used the opportunity to ask his Question. These Members neither came to the Chamber nor wrote to the Speaker to say why they are not here. If you cannot ask your Question, the tradition is to write to the Speaker and say that you will not be here on a particular day for your Question to be deferred. You deferred a Question which the Member has not requested for deferment. You need to drop the Questions, so that Members can learn to be here when they request to ask Questions. A Question that no one has requested to be deferred should not be deferred. It should be dropped, so that we create space for more Questions. Members should take parliamentary business seriously. Wednesdays are for Members’ business and Questions. They have to be here. Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
Thank you very much, Hon. Deputy Speaker. In the same wavelength, there was also a tradition where Members would be informed when they had Questions. I remember that it was very consistent in the 12th Parliament. I congratulate the Table Office because it was very consistent on telling you that your Question would be in the Order Paper. Possibly, this is another alternative way that we should enhance. I support what Hon. Baya has said; the House business must be taken seriously. For instance, when we went to Mombasa for the conference, Members, especially the first-timers, complained that they do not get chance to contribute in Parliament. You will realise that we do not have them in the House now. This should go on record. A few minutes ago, we were looking for quorum. Parliament requires a lot of discipline. You have to come early, sit down and insert your card for you to speak. Let us improve on attendance.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
On a point of order, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
What is your point of Order, Hon. (Dr) Oundo?
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. Hon. Baya has raised the issue of attendance at a good moment. In many afternoons, towards 4.00 p.m. or 5.00 p.m, the House is literally empty. We have 349 Members. Out of these, at times, it is very shameful that we only find a sprinkle of Members here on national television. The first-timers keep on complaining all over that they are never given opportunity to speak but they never stay in the House.Yesterday, in the afternoon, the Temporary Speaker on the Chair, 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. Kaluma, had to literally find innovative ways of buying time because there were no Members to contribute on very important business, like the Motion on the memorandum from the President and other very important matters that were on the Floor of the House. My rallying call to the to the new Hon. Members, especially the young ones, is that this is the time to hog the limelight before things start heating up with the many Government- sponsored Bills and the rest of the things. Take opportunity like now, come at around 4.30 p.m. or 5.00 p.m. when people who want to hog limelight have gone and stamp your authority and talk here because whoever monitors Members’ performance in the House, like Mzalendo, does not monitor whether you are talking during prime time or at any other time. That is my free advice to them. If you want to be rated highly among people who contribute in Parliament, like I did, together with Hon. Dr. Pukose last time, you look at the appropriate time to talk. Do not wait at 2.30 p.m. or the time that is reserved for the House leadership. Thank you, Hon. Speaker.
Thank you, Hon. Members, for your contribution on that issue. Allow me to say this so that we do not prejudice a Member. The Member for Mwea, Hon. Mary Maingi, had actually sent a letter deferring her Question except that the letter came in late and, therefore, the Question was not removed from the Order Paper. I agree with all the sentiments. We are also saying that the Table Office always endeavours to inform Members whose Questions are scheduled to appear on the Order Paper. Their biggest challenge, I have been informed, is that sometimes the contacts that Members leave with the Table Office are not reliable. So, you need to have a reliable contact because they we will always try to inform you. What is your point of order, Hon. Pukose?
(Endebess, UDA) Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. Today is International Women's Day, and I want to appreciate all the women. Just on that, through Short Message Service (SMS), we get messages on what is coming the next day. I think people are not reading their SMSs. We should not say that the Table Office should send individual SMS to the Member who has something in the next sitting, if we do not read those messages. Through the SMS, the Member is able to know that his Question will be asked in the next sitting. I think when a Member is not here, it could be due to other challenges. It is important that if a Member is not here to prosecute a Question, that Question is dropped so that the Member starts the process afresh.
Hon. Members, I would like to recognise the presence of students of Bristar Girls School from Juja Constituency, Kiambu County; and the presence of students of Ruthagati High School from Mathira West in Nyeri County. I also recognise, in the Public Gallery, pupils from Grandstar Junior Academy from Embakasi West Constituency, Nairobi County Next Order.
On this Motion, there was a balance of 13 minutes. The Member for Narok North was on the Floor. Is she here to complete her time? Since she is not here, she forfeits the balance of her time on this debate. Is there a Member who wanted to have the three minutes? You may proceed, Hon. Member. You can use the microphone infront.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I take this opportunity to thank the Hon. Member for Kilome, Hon. Nzambia, for this timely Motion on continuous registration of elderly persons for the cash transfers. The cash transfer programme for the elderly persons was first mooted around 2007. Initially, it started with three counties – Thika, Nyando and Busia. It subsequently expanded and has become a countrywide thing, which is good. The elderly persons are people who have served this country in many capacities – farmers, leaders, chiefs, teachers and in other capacities – but after retirement, most of them found themselves in extreme poverty. Some of them cannot even afford food or health services. Therefore, it is a good thing for the elderly persons’ cash transfer programme to continue. We had targeted 4.4 million Kenyans to have been registered by now but unfortunately, because of lack of that continuous registration, we have only reached 852,000 elderly persons. The last time this registration was done was in 2016 and that is why this Motion is very timely. We should pass it so as to have a continuous registration of elderly persons. Luckily, the population of these elderly persons is also increasing every year because of our improved healthcare. Not many people are dying nowadays. People are living to a very late age and, therefore, this continuous registration will be a very good thing so that we can support these persons to cater for their healthcare, buy food and meet other needs. Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
I now call upon the Mover to reply. You have 10 minutes.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. Before I reply, I have some requests. I have 10 minutes and it is good that I donate to Members to at least have a say on the Motion. I will start with my brother there, Hon. Oundo. Let me prepare the list as Hon. Oundo takes the Floor. At least a minute each.
Okay. Hon. Oundo.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I stand in solidarity and support the Motion by Hon. Nzambia on the issue of the elderly people. As my colleagues have aptly put it, the last registration was done just before the 2017 General Elections to entice the older persons to vote for the then Jubilee Government. The elderly people in the villages are suffering and it is unfathomable. I, therefore, ask the national Government to move with speed to make adequate allocation to this programme and ensure that every person who is above the age of 65 gets this kind of transfer. We must allow them to live their old age in dignity because they have lived and served this country and therefore deserve something better. During the campaigns, our party leader, the Rt. Hon. Raila Amollo 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.
Odinga, promised that every vulnerable person would get Ksh6,000 per month unconditionally. Kenyans are now suffering because…
Hon. Joseph Emathe of Turkana Central. Hon. Nzambia, please, give us the list.
Hon. Maimai from Kajiado East. You may proceed. Let him have the microphone.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this Motion by Hon. Nzambia. This is a great Motion that deserves our support so as to help out the elderly people and ensure that they are well taken care of. We should continue the registration process. For instance, in my constituency, I have had a lot of elderly people coming to me to inquire about the status of the funds for the elderly. I realised that most of them have not been registered. The continuous registration proposed by Hon. Nzambia is an important Motion for us to support. We should continue registering more elderly people and ensure that they receive their benefits. It is only fair that we reward them.
Hon. Nzambia, who goes next? He is going get the microphone. The Clerks-at-the-Table are going to give him the microphone. Okay, there is one behind you.
Asante sana, Naibu Spika, kwa kunipatia nafasi kuchangia Hoja hii. Kabla nichangie, ningependa nijiunge na viongozi wenzangu kuwatakia akina mama wa nchi yetu siku njema wanaposherehekea siku ya wanawake ulimwenguni. Nikirudi kwa mada, ningependa kumpongeza Mhe. Nzambia kwa kuleta Hoja hii. Kusema kweli, wazee humu nchini Kenya wamepata shida kwa sababu wengi wao hawapati hizi pesa za uzeeni. Imekuwa kitambo sana tangu mwaka wa 2016 Serikali iandikishe wazee. Kutoka mwaka huo hadi sasa, tuko na wazee wengi ambao wamefikisha miaka ya kuandikishwa lakini hawapati pesa. Kwa hivyo, ningependa kusema kuwa ni vizuri Hoja hii imeletwa kwa wakati ufaao. Wazee wote waandikishwe ili waweze kupata hata kama ni pesa kidogo lakini zinawasaidia kwa mahitaji yao.
I am informed that the Member for Narok North had spoken on this Motion. I am informed that once you are not present when you are called, you forfeit the 10 minutes that you had. You can call out somebody else, Hon. Nzambia. You may proceed. The microphone next to you is on.
On a point of order, Hon. Deputy Speaker.
We have a point of order from Hon. (Dr.) Pukose.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, on procedure, Hon. Nzambia should be on record donating minutes to specific Members of Parliament. He cannot just do it off the microphone by pointing at Members. That is not how we do it in Parliament. He must stick to our rules.
I think he gave one minute to each Member.
But he must put it on record that he has given this Member a minute to contribute. It will be tidier that way.
Proceed, Hon. Nzambia.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. The Member was probably not listening to my speech. I clearly said that I will give each Member a minute. That is already on record. Can we proceed?
A minute. 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 sana, Mhe. Naibu wa Spika. Ninaunga mkono Hoja hii kuhusu namna wazee wanaweza kulipwa. Ninampongeza Mhe. Nzambia kwa kuileta Hoja hii wakati unaofaa. Kwa hakika, kuna wazee vijijini ambao hali yao ya kimaisha na kiafya siyo nzuri. Hii Hoja ikipita, nina uhakika kwamba wataweza kupata fedha ambazo zitawakimu kimaisha. Sheria inasema kwamba mzee anaweza kupata fedha hizi akihitimu miaka sabini. Ninaomba Bunge hili liweze kupunguza ile miaka kwa sababu wazee vijijini wanakufa kabla ya kufikia miaka sabini.
Hon. Nzambia, you have exhausted your minutes. Yes. You can reply to the Question.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker for this opportunity. First, I appreciate all Members who have discussed this Motion. It was timely. Hon. Pukose should give me time to reply to the Motion. The Government should have a clear policy so that we can have continuous registration of the old wazee for them to benefit like other members. It is possible to register over two million people and have their take home. There are
who have been benefiting from the same fund. It appears to be discriminating when other wazee who have attained the same age are not benefiting from the fund.
Hon. Beatrice Elachi, Member for Dagoretti North.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I beg to move the following Motion: THAT, aware that the Export Processing Zones (EPZ) Authority in Kenya was established in 1990 to promote and facilitate export-oriented investment programmes and create incentives for export-oriented production in areas designated as export processing zones; further aware that the Authority is charged with the responsibility of regulating and administering approved activities within the export processing zones to ensure compliance among others; noting that the programme anchors on Kenya’s Vision 2030, the country’s Economic Blueprint with regard to becoming an industrialised and upper middle-income country; further noting that EPZ provides an attractive investment opportunity for export oriented business ventures in the country; acknowledging that the programme is a source of direct and indirect employment to more than 60,000 Kenyans; concerned that currently, the programme is facing a myriad of challenges including inadequate funding, prohibitive cost of accessing business loans, high cost of production, shrinking export market due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, inadequate supplies of raw materials, water and power for agro- processing companies among others; further concerned that there is need to revamp the said programme to improve its performance through increased funding to aid, for instance, in setting up of excellence centres in some parts of the county, expediting on negotiations for market access especially to the East Africa Community (EAC) including trade negotiations between Kenya and other 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.
countries on diversification of products eligible under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), employee training and retention, provision of reliable supply of raw materials for agro-processing companies, improvement of infrastructure to enhance steady supply of water and power and provision of affordable access to credit facilities among others; this House resolves that the national Government through the Ministry of Trade, Investments and Industry, develops a policy whose core objective would be to among others address the challenges currently faced by the EPZ with specific focus on implementing EPZ programmes to enhance performance and enable retention of investors across the country to enhance economic sustainability and allow companies to pursue businesses locally through the 20 per cent waiver to enable them earn a living.
Hon. Deputy Speaker, as we celebrate International Women’s Day today, I thank all the women, especially 80 per cent of Kenyan women who work at the EPZ and in the agricultural sector. I appreciate the Budget and Appropriations Committee for giving the EPZ money to create shades. It has also looked at how the industry can support Kenyans, especially young people to get jobs. The AGOA programme started when the Americans decided to support and have a trade framework with Kenya. Within this framework, we were able to see Kenya move in the right direction. The programme cuts across East Africa. There are EPZs in Ethiopia even though they are closed because of the conflicts there. This is a company that can create a lot of impact. When the Government wants to employ, it can make use of the EPZ. So, we need to enhance the EPZ, so that it contains a clear supply chain. More importantly, this is an institution that employs more than 60,000 people meaning we can go beyond that number. I am sure if the Government can put in more effort, we will have a million people being employed. It is important that once in a while we just visit Kitengela and see how the EPZ works. You will be surprised to find that it is women who produce the good jeans that you go to the United States of America (USA) to buy. It is a product made in Kenya yet we buy it when we are out of the country. It is important to note that there is a big challenge that the EPZ is facing today. After COVID-19, many organisations and industries were closed, including where we used to get our raw materials. Kenya does not have cotton. This is something we need to start speaking about. We must set aside agricultural areas where we must plant our own cotton if, indeed, we want to buy Kenya, build Kenya. Here is a product of Kenya, but Kenyans are unable to buy it yet we say we have given ourselves a 20 per cent waiver. This Motion seeks to request the Government to extend that waiver of 20 per cent to tenders from Government to the EPZ. For example, we have just passed a Motion on uniforms. If, indeed, they were being done by our own here under the EPZ programme, definitely, it would be affordable for our parents to buy those uniforms. We have been talking of police uniforms. We can also talk about uniforms for hospitals, so that this company can stay afloat and women are not sent home. That way, a whole industry worth millions of shillings will not close down. We must try. This House should ensure that 20 per cent is sourced locally for them to keep the employees afloat. The EPZ also helps us to maintain our currency. Right now, we are having a lot of challenges with our currency. However, if you want export to continue, then you need to find a way of selling back our currency and the dollar will not be at a rate that will kill us. Therefore, we have to come up with industrial parks plus the shades that we were talking about. I will give you a story. Just when the Ukraine war started, an investor came to Kenya and went to Kitengela. At that time, he wanted land to plant sunflower seeds for business in oil. The EPZ told the investor that it was unable to give him any land. There were no shades. The investor moved to Tanzania and Tanzania is now benefiting. The EPZ does mass production of nearly Ksh4 billion. I know many people will not understand, but it is good to visit them. You will then realise the impact that most of the EPZ companies have in Kenya. 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.
Ethiopian textile industry is closed. Are we able to put up shades so that these companies can come back to Kenya and employ the youth? I think the most important thing that we can do is to see how we can create an excellence academy so that many of the young people can join it. There is use of technology at the EPZ, especially given the machines that are being used. I walked into an EPZ in Kisumu called DADA. Now DADA EPZ Limited belongs to a woman who worked in Gikomba for more than 30 years. During COVID-19, she realised that she was having a lot of challenges importing mitumba and decided to open an EPZ in Kisumu. While in Kisumu, she started recruiting young girls who had dropped out of school. Today, her facility has about 3,000 young girls. These are girls who dropped out of school because of early pregnancy. They work in the afternoon and go to Ngumbaru so that they can continue with their education. Even as we celebrate women, these are the women that we need to celebrate today. I want to tell young girls that, indeed, when you are in school, always inspire yourself because one day you will change the lives of others. If you have a young girl who has experienced early pregnancy, please, talk to them. Do not look down upon them and do not victimise them. This is why we have different institutions taking care of them. So, as I finalise so that I can call upon my sister, Hon. Martha, to second, I just want to say this: As we debate this Motion, let us remember that this is one of the flagship programmes that can transform the lives of many young people. Let us remember that Ethiopian textile industry is now closed by the Americans because of their conflict. Kenya is the next hub that should take over. Everyone appreciates that Kenya is a hub within East Africa that has done so well regarding the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) program. With those few remarks, I beg to move and ask Hon. Martha Wangari to second.
You may proceed, Hon. Martha Wangari.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker, and allow me to also take this opportunity to wish all the women a happy International Women’s Day, including you, Hon. Deputy Speaker and the Mover of this very good Motion. I know many women say that they would do better anything that a man can do. It should actually be the other way round: That men should and could do everything that women are able to do. That is the way it should be. I want to quote Maya Angelou: “To the strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.” We cannot be them, that is, like our colleague male Members of Parliament. That way, we will be celebrating a whole generation and we will be encouraging even the girls that are coming up that women are leaders everywhere you look. Allow me to second this Motion. I also congratulate my colleague, Hon. Beatrice Elachi, for this very good Motion. I also note that even as we celebrate women in the political sphere, we have come a long way. We have tried very many ideas. We have come up with Bills to ensure that we have gender parity in elective positions. But we have not got there. We still have a long way to go, but we are making strides. Hon. Beatrice Elachi is also one of the people who can show that affirmative action can start all the way from the nominations that we see in this House. I was with her in the Senate in the 11th Parliament. We were then elected in the 12th Parliament. She also became a Speaker of the Nairobi County Assembly and later was elected to this House. So, this shows that affirmative action is possible to ensure that more women are represented in this House. Even as we debate the Presidential Memorandum on the two-thirds gender rule, it should be evident that affirmative action can be achieved. It can be a good way to ensure that numbers are met. The issue of establishment of the EPZ production outlets was done in the 90s and it has gone a long way to ensure that we have incorporated Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in this country. More than 75 per cent of owned businesses that are registered by the EPZ get incentives to ensure that they get good production, corporate tax holidays, 10 years withholding tax holidays, and perpetual exemption from payment of stamp duty on legal 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.
instruments. That way, we nurture many businesses, including women-owned businesses which will rise and survive the market. Hon. Deputy Speaker, the issue of COVID-19 has dealt a blow to many people, not only at a personal level, but at a corporate level as well. The EPZ has not been left out as they have suffered in terms of production and yet we have very many direct and indirect jobs running into thousands that depend on this.
The previous Government had something like an exhibition on a day they called the EPZ day at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) and this is an idea that the Ministry of Trade and Industry should consider. If you want to buy a pair of jeans - by the way, I have bought one from the EPZ and they have very good quality jeans, but how many people even know where to get them? How do we know where to flag out the 20 per cent that come to the market if you want to buy them? I know we wanted to control a little bit so that we do not open the market where one goes there to buy at cheaper prices and then comes to sell at wholesale. However, one should get a dress, an overall or a pair of jeans if needed so that we can open this market and keep the EPZ afloat. Last Friday, His Excellency President William Ruto was at Gilgil during the National Youth Service (NYS) pass-out parade and we had a cohort of 10,600 passing out. This time, it will be almost 20,000 youth passing out. The quality of work done by our NYS is amazing in terms of the police. We do not even have to go to China or outside the country. We have the workmanship, training, capacity and more importantly the labour. That available labour in all the NYS colleges should be looped together with the EPZ so that we have absorption. It does not make sense if you do paramilitary training for the almost 11,000 youth, fail to absorb them and leave them on the streets with that kind of training. They have done capacity building and have the knowledge and the machinery. What we should be looking at even as we empower the EPZ, is to loop them in to ensure that we have more zones not just at Kitengela, but expand to the other parts of the country where we have NYS training colleges, where we have available labour and ensure that we put that into use. Let us also get the Government to continue supporting the EPZ, especially through funding that is timely and assured so that they can project how much their production would be. Also, by opening up, they can link to the tendering process of the Government. When we say Small and Medium Enterprises register in EPZ, one qualification that you need to get that licence for an SME is that your company should be over 75 per cent locally owned. That means that we will be absorbing many of these SMEs to tap into the resources. We have a lot of Government tendering going on, today as you have heard Members speak, they have recruitment going on for more than 2,000 Kenya Forest Service rangers. These officers will need uniforms and boots, each more than a pair. We have other forces like the Kenya Police and the NYS themselves. They have uniforms that they wear every day and ceremonial ones. This applies to all the uniformed forces in the country. In terms of capacity, we can utilise what we have; the EPZ and the NYS labour, so that we can supply our uniformed forces and the private sector such as G4S and other uniformed private security. We should open up this market for the EPZ and keep them afloat. Anywhere there is an industry of any kind, it does not only touch on the people inside the industry, but it affects the whole community around it. If you go to the EPZ in Kitengela, you get people who need food daily. This means there is need for someone to supply that food. That is exactly what we are looking for so that we can change our communities and the country bottom-up-wise. This is the way to do it through the EPZ. I hope we can nurture this, give more incentives and licence more companies that are small and medium enterprises to take advantage. Otherwise, what do we mean when we say “we are incubating small businesses?” It means if you get these tax holidays and the sheds, you can do your work at a lower cost of production so that you maximise on one’s mark-up in terms of profit. 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. Deputy Speaker, I hope this can be done by the Government. I would like to support that we integrate them with the NYS colleges so that we get an even bigger market to leverage on the issues of tendering and getting more absorbed. I thank Hon. Beatrice Elachi for the timely Motion. I hope this House will support it so that we can do better and further leverage on the international markets available. With those few remarks, I beg to second. Thank you.
Hon. Members, I now call upon the Members to contribute. Let us have Hon. Didmus Barasa, Member for Kimilili. I see he was the first one to come in today.
Thank you, Hon. Deputy Speaker. I want to make it clear that I support this Motion. I equally thank and appreciate the people of Dagoretti North Constituency for bringing Hon. Beatrice Elachi to this House as their Member of Parliament. Had they not done that, this very good idea would not be helpful to the citizens of this country.
This Motion is important because every part of this country is occupied by particular ethnic groups that form the fabric that wires the Republic of Kenya. People who live in different parts of this country are usually engaged in distinct economic activities. People from western Kenya are known to be very good farmers and those from Nyanza are known to be very good fishermen. This Motion will go a long way to ensure that we create jobs in every part of the country. Kenyans are very hardworking people. They are always engaged in different types of economic activities. Creation of EPZ zones will go a long way to ensure that this country does not only depend on imports, but also exports some finished products.
I am told that when you go to buy a Maasai Kikoi in a shop in town, chances are that the Kikoi has been manufactured by companies in India or China. The only way to ensure that we add value to the hard work that Kenyans always put into their daily engagements is for the Government to come up with a proper framework to ensure that EPZs are set up across the country, so that they go a long way to assist our people. Kenya has a lot of potential. We import fabrics from India, yet we have very good climatic conditions that can support pyrethrum farming and give capacity to our local industries to begin exporting cheap fabric to our neighbouring countries. I thank my sister, Hon. Beatrice Elachi, for thinking along those lines. I encourage her to convert this Motion into a Bill after we approve it, so that the Government of Kenya will have no choice, but to implement the directive to set up more EPZs across the country, so that Kenyans can continue to tap into the very many benefits that would come as a result of setting up EPZs. This Motion is coming at the right time when the country’s education system has evolved into the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC). We want to begin encouraging students in Grade Seven, Grade Eight and Grade Nine in junior secondary schools to learn technologies that are in line with what EPZs promote. We want them to benefit from the EPZs. When children in junior secondary schools will be learning about how to knit suits, trousers or nice Kikois, they can undertake practical lessons at the nearest EPZ that majors in development of fabrics. 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.
Even as we say that CBC is good and that it will directly impart skills in students, it would be a waste of time if we had so many skilled people in the country, but no employment. The only way to guarantee employment is through creation of cottage industries. Cottage industries will only have value if they are within gazetted and approved EPZs. This is something which the Government must take seriously. I am happy that we have a new Government in place. Unlike the previous one, I hope that this new one will take whatever comes out of this House very seriously. I would like to see a situation where whatever this House resolves forms part of the Budget Policy Statement, Government policy designs and implementation, or termination of extinct policies that are of no importance to the citizens of the country. I hope the Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Investment and Industry, Hon. Moses Kuria, will be passionate about implementing this directive. I am sure that every Member of Parliament in this House would support and approve this Motion, and then the Government picks it up from there. If you move across the country, you will find that we do not have an idle population. Every single citizen in this country is involved in some activity. We are just asking the Government to support those activities in terms of putting skills together and taking advantage of the diversity of economic activities across this country to set up different EPZs, so that Kenyans can employ themselves and get market for their products. Kenyans should have access to markets for various products outside the country. Kenya has always had one-way traffic in terms of trade. We always import products from other countries. Even when we produce tea and coffee, we still import the same from countries that do not even grow tea or coffee. It is high time we added value to our coffee, milk, maize, sugarcane and pyrethrum, so that farmers can also take their businesses to the next level through the value additions that come as a result of setting up EPZs. With those very many remarks, I support the Motion. I urge young Members of Parliament who are here for the first time to emulate what Hon. Beatrice Elachi has done and think through and propose Motions and Bills that will make life easy for citizens. That is why Parliament exists. By so doing, we will contribute positively to the advancement of the welfare of Kenyans. I support the Motion.
Thank you, Hon. Didmus. The next chance will go to the Deputy Leader of the Majority Party.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Speaker. I would like to congratulate our lady, Hon. Elachi, for this well-thought-out Motion. However, as I delve into the details of the Motion, I would like to draw the attention of Hon. Elachi to one or two things. One, this country already has an EPZ Act which was enacted in 1990. The Act forms the bedrock of the EPZs that we have, including the formation of the EPZ Council which was at the heart of negotiating the AGOA deal. Every time the AGOA matter is mentioned here, I become very passionate because one of the things that I studied in my planning lessons at my master’s level was the AGOA deal. I have written quite a lot about AGOA and how it has benefitted this country. Currently, Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been enhanced by the AGOA Treaty. Over 44 per cent of the GDP is contributed by AGOA. I would like to draw the attention of the House to three things that this Motion would like to do and that Hon. Elachi is asking the House to resolve. First, it should focus specifically on implementing EPZ programmes to enhance performance. There are issues within EPZs. The AGOA Treaty is coming to an end in 2023. Kenya has already started negotiations and the Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Investment and Industry has met the Ambassador of the United States of America. They have had talks around the African Growth and Opportunity Act and how to extend it. The AGOA falls squarely within the Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) in 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.
USA. There has been talk that the free trade agreement needs to be renegotiated because it is skewed against the USA. We know AGOA gives Kenyan apparels and products free access or non-tariffs access to the USA. However, the USA is saying they do not want this to continue. They want it changed. They do not want everything that comes from Kenya to the USA to be free. We need a strong Kenyan delegation to negotiate the FTA and AGOA, so that it makes value for us. Otherwise, we will have AGOA and processing, but we will not have a market. There is correlation between the development of this country, especially in export processing and markets abroad. The issues here are how we make it. I like the way you phrased your resolutions. You want to enhance performance, but this performance needs to be specified. What performance? Is it just production, or do we have a market? How are we negotiating our market? Should it just be to the USA or we are looking at the new markets? What about Asia? Probably, Bangladesh manufactures the same things as ours, but they have a bigger population that consumes those products. How do we penetrate that market? India has one of the largest populations. Are they part of AGOA? No, they are not. How do we penetrate India as a market with our apparels? How do we enhance our performance? This House needs to delve into those questions.
As the negotiations go on and we say we are making policy here, how do we take this to the agreements that are going on? For example, we have the Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) right now. It is being negotiated under the STIP. It is the question of enhancing efficiency or performance by our companies. If you go to Mombasa today, as you drive towards Malindi to the north, you will see many new establishments and new products. I think AGOA allows around 23 products only. How are we increasing the products so that this country can have more products exported outside to enable us get more business and grow the GDP of this country? You have said that we need enhanced enabled retention of investors across the country. It is a fact that we have investor flight. They are leaving the country. Why are they leaving the country? Why do they not want to continue investing here? It is because the cost of production in this country is very high. Electricity, water, labour and many other things are making Kenya not an investment-friendly country. I said this is a good thing when I saw the President go to the Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone to launch the first gas production unit there today. There are people out there who have a lot of confidence in the Kenyan situation who can come and invest here. We are losing investors. That is why I conclude differently. The Mover of the Motion needs to take note of this. One, do we want to stick only to EPZs or do we want to move this country to Economic Zones (EZ)? The EPZ is only one form of an economic zone. Do we want to move this country to EZ such that the EPZ that we have diversify and we have a broader policy and law on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) or EZ, so that we can create more business? Do we only want to go to export processing or do want to go to full manufacturing? Do we want to go to other areas, for example, the service industry? If you go to Singapore today, you will find that they have Special Economic Zones that are only for tourism. They have a zoo with elephants they have brought in since they do not have some. They are benefitting immensely from the service industry. If you go to Dubai, they have a Special Economic Zone that is only for services. The service industry in the world today makes more money. Countries that have gone into service industry are making more money and their GDP is growing faster.
I would like to enrich the Mover’s document by saying that we probably need to have a broader policy on EZ in this country, so that each county has a Special Economic Zone and they can choose if they want to do AGOA or other treaties, so that this country’s GDP can grow as we move forward. As we move this Motion, I would like the Departmental Committee on Trade, Industry and Cooperatives to take greater interest in the talks that are going on. As a Parliament, we cannot just watch the Executive handle AGOA and many other treaties alone. 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.
Departmental Committee on Trade, Industry and Cooperatives needs to have some input in the talks that are going on. The Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Investment and Industry has been all over the world. I do not know whether he carries along with him this Parliament’s Chairman of the Departmental Committee on Trade, Industry and Cooperatives so that Parliament has its say and its input felt in the negotiations. The treaties they are signing should be brought here for us to scrutinise and know what they are negotiating out there, so that we can enhance the experience of the economic zone in this country.
Lastly, the Mover talks about allowing companies to pursue business locally. It is through the 20 per cent waiver to enable them earn a living. A Finance Bill will come to this House. When it comes, it will create all these things; the waivers, the taxes, and all that. I would like to see the Departmental Committee on Trade, Industry and Cooperative come hard and say that we need to reduce taxes, levies and other charges to enhance investor confidence and retention. Hon. Beatrice Elachi, I hope you will note this in your reply as we move forward. We need to have greater input on the Finance Bill. The Finance Bill will create greater latitude and opportunity for us to reduce the high cost of production in this country for which investors are shunning the country. Let us lower the rates of production, reduce levies, and make the country an investor-friendly economy. That is what we need to do. Hon. Elachi, you probably need to look at whether you want to stick with Export Processing Zones or open this country to more economic zones in different parts of the country.
This chance goes to the Member for Nambale, Hon. Geoffrey Mulanya.
Thank you, for giving me this chance to air my views on the Motion. First, I thank Hon. Elachi for bringing this noble Motion to support EPZs in our country. We must appreciate that as a developing nation, we face so many challenges. Among them is the challenge of unemployment. We have many youths who have gone through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVETs) institutes established by the Government. After that, they face the challenge of getting employed. If the Government can support EPZs, I believe our people who have gone through TVETs will have opportunity to get employed.
Secondly, through exports from EPZs, our Government is going to earn good revenue to support our economy. For a person who comes from the cotton-rich zones like the Western Region, I support the Ministry to come up with policies that can address challenges that face EPZs. This will support many cotton farmers because they will produce the raw materials that will be used for production of the garments at EPZs.
With those few remarks, I support the Motion and thank Hon. Elachi for coming up with it.
Thank you. Member for Kilgoris, Hon. Julius ole Sunkuli.
Hon. Temporary Speaker, before I make my remarks, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all the women of the world on this International Women’s Day. One time, the former President of China – Mao Zedong – said that women hold up half the sky. When President Kennedy was asked in 1960 whether by the year 2000 women would rule the world, he said yes and they would still be at it. I congratulate real rulers of the world on this important day. I also thank my colleague, Hon. Elachi, for bringing this Motion. The Ministry of Trade, Investment and Industry - under the Act that has been referred to by the Leader of the Majority Party - registers EPZs throughout Kenya. There are about seven of them now. The EPZs get favourable trade conditions; they are insulated from the tax regime in Kenya, and they get many duty-free concessions. This comes with a lot 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.
responsibilities. Other than the 20 per cent allowed, they are supposed to produce only for export. That comes with a lot of challenges, especially where we stand now with our economy. Like every export-oriented business, EPZ business is affected by external factors—the global economy. In the first place, the exchange rate is pegged on the dollar. When the dollar is low, then business is okay for us. However, when the dollar against the shilling is quite advantaged, then we have a problem with our export business. The dollar in Kenya now has hit Ksh138 to one dollar. That will affect our exports a lot. Our external clients will buy our goods at a cheaper price. Once this dollar becomes disadvantageous to us, then they get an advantage over us. They are getting our goods at throwaway prices right now. This affects our youth from being employed. Hon. Temporary Speaker, my second point is with respect to employment of our youth. Many of my colleagues here are thinking about their home areas. The EPZs are supposed to be for the Republic of Kenya. Even if they are located in Kilifi or Nairobi, they are supposed to serve all Kenyans. When employment opportunities arise in the EPZs, they should not be localised. We cannot localise Kenya to the smallest decimal point. Kenya is still Kenya. The opportunities that come within the EPZs, wherever they are allocated, should not be construed to be for that particular location. The other point which has been elaborated clearly by the Deputy Leader of Majority Party is this question of AGOA. It is wrong to assume that EPZs were created for AGOA. The Lomé Treaty did its part. It produced a preferential trade agreement between Sub-Saharan Africa and the USA, which passed this AGOA law knowing that it is to their advantage. They are at liberty to change this whenever their interests are not there. We, in Kenya, must always be innovative. The USA is just one of our markets, but we must expand them. President Kibaki said that we should look East. I was advantaged to be an ambassador of this country in China. I know how our trade has been coming up all the time. It has been increasing and improving with respect to Chinese. This thing is reciprocal. When we think of producing things for other countries, we must also not come and discriminate against commodities that are produced by other people. Let us open our markets abroad. Let our ambassadors abroad be economic ambassadors. We are no longer involved in political diplomacy; we already have it. We are already friends with all East African countries. What we want now is to market our commodities to produce them for the world. We cannot sit down and say that Americans are our friends today, but we know they are not. They serve their interests. If we have favourable terms for them, they are our friends. We must continue asking the rest of the world to buy our commodities. I do not know whether the Leader of Majority Party does not understand that this Government which he serves already has a policy almost equivalent to that of the Special Economic Zones, except that they call them industrial parks. They are being created everywhere in Dongo Kundu, Eldoret and many other places. This is the way to go. Economic zones will not have the same advantages as the EPZs because they will be subject to the tax regime of the country. It is a deliberate effort which is used by countries. Shenzhen City in China was created purely as an economic zone to develop industries. If we ask these industrial parks to specialise, this will make a lot of sense. If you go to Shenzhen City, you will find that it is electronics that are produced there. If you go to Shanghai City, it is another story. If you have a Special Economic Zone in Dongo Kundu, we would like to know what it specialises on so that we do not just produce the same things. The problem with us, Africans, is that if somebody grows cabbages, everybody wants to do the same. Then, the forces of the market operate. We would like to know what the industrial parks in Dongo Kundu, Eldoret and Naivasha will be producing. This will help us to specialise and then we target the market. Without the market, we will not produce those things for anybody else. We are not as lucky as those countries that have a lot of population. 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.
As Africans, we are told all the time that we need to reduce our population. This might be good for one reason, but it not good for economics. The countries that have a lot of population today are able to get effective demand of their commodities. They do not need an export market. We cannot be proud unless we bring the East African Community (EAC) together and then we get a population of 120 million people. However, with our 50 million people in Kenya, we will consume our goods and still require a market. We need to be very creative. Our diplomacy needs to be oriented towards seeking the markets for our goods. That will get the effects of the Motion that our colleague has brought. We will get jobs, market for our goods, exchange our technology and have a better economy. Hon. Temporary Speaker, I support the Motion.
You have said we go slowly on the family planning. The next contributor will be the Deputy Whip of the Majority Party, Hon. Naomi Waqo.
Marsabit County, UDA): Thank you Hon. Temporary Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this very important Motion. I also congratulate
Elachi for coming up with this because it concerns all of us. It is beneficial to our young people, women and the men who will get an opportunity to work in that area. As I said, I stand to support.
I support it because of job creation. Kenya is one country that is growing very fast, but the challenge that we have with our youth is that majority of them are graduates but are not employed. They sit in their homes without doing anything and which, at the end of the day, frustrates them and they get into depression. Many of them have gone into drug addiction because of lack of employment. Promotion or enhancement of this will mean that many jobs will be created, and that will benefit our young people.
Again, it is beneficial to us because of foreign direct investment. Kenya, as we know, is quite attractive to many investors. Many investors are interested in our country. When we enhance this and grow it to capacity, we will have many foreigners investing here. That will help us to export our products to the international world. At one time when we were doing our shopping in the USA, we found our products there, and we were very happy. We ended up buying our own products in the USA.
Additionally, it is high time that we not only target the outside world, but our own market. Kenyans are proud of themselves and we are proud of our own products. “Buy Kenya Build Kenya” should be our motive and aim as we do all those. Again, we should put into consideration the purpose, which is to provide an attractive investment opportunity for export- oriented business ventures. This will only go well when we enhance and invest heavily there, and have our own budget to support it, so that the EPZs can grow and reach many parts of this country.
Again, Hon. Temporary Speaker, through EPZs, the Kenya Kwanza Government will improve and enhance this. Also, through the EPZs, we will almost be in every county. Our young people, women, and all the people who will get the opportunity to work there will be able to sustain their families. Majority of those who are already employed at EPZs are women. Women are the people who sustain their families. They are the pillars of our society.
I will say something on the Women’s International Day as I finish. Women are the people who sustain every family and, in every county, you can clearly see that women are very hardworking. They do whatever they do with a lot of passion. As we enhance this, I would like to request that special attention be given to women of this country because, sometimes, they work very hard to bring up their children. They work hard when their spouses, you know, maybe, go around drinking a lot and not even bringing the needed resources home. Women work very hard for their families and, in turn, they work hard for this country. They build every 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.
party that has always been there. And even as Kenya Kwanza, we got to where we are because of the support we got from women. So, let us give a lot of attention to women.
When it comes to employment, we should be considerate to every part of this country. When you go to Kitengela, the faces you see there are the faces of the people who come from around there. I would want to see somebody from Marsabit employed in that EPZ Centre. When we see the face of Kenya, we will all be proud because it is not only Marsabit, but think of Turkana and the north-eastern parts of this country that get very few employment opportunities. It is high time Kenyans considered every part of this country when it comes to giving opportunities to people.
As I finish, I would want to say something about the International Women’s Day. I am proud to be a woman and happy to be here today as a Member of Parliament and the Woman Representative representing my county. I take this opportunity now to congratulate every woman in this country, especially those women in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs), where we are experiencing terrible drought and famine that has finished all the animals. Women walk many kilometres, like 20 to 30 kilometres, to fetch just 20 litres of water. That is a very hard life. Some of them are expectant while others are breastfeeding. They have no food at home, and they have no opportunity to stay and enjoy. Under that heat, very dry and hardship lifestyle, they go to fetch water and look for food. I respect the women who are struggling today while looking for food to put on the plates for their children; walking for kilometres to fetch water and taking their children to schools while covering long distances. I respect every woman of this country especially those who are struggling because of famine, and those who are suffering because of different challenges that they are going through. Happy International Women’s Day!
I support the Motion. Thank you.
Thank you. Member for Baringo North, Hon. Makilap. Not in the House. We will have the Member for Westlands, Hon. Timothy Wanyonyi.
Westlands, ODM): Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker. I also want to contribute to this Motion by Hon. Beatrice Elachi. The EPZs were created in the 1990s during the time of the late President Moi to enhance export material from Kenya. We have not expanded those processing zones. They should be at least in every corner of this country, especially now that we are devolved. We should devolve some of those functions to counties. Why is the USA a big economy? It is because the USA has a market for themselves. Most of what they produce is consumed in the USA. That is why you find that what we are doing at EPZs is geared for export. We can also utilise the local and the regional markets that we have, the East African Community and others.
Hon. Temporary Speaker, we also have to look at other regions. What have India, China and Asian Tigers done that has succeeded? If you go to India, there are those cottage industries called handlooms. They are just handlooms because they are produced by people who do things in a manual manner. They are exported to countries like ours. Things we import here like carpets and some silk things come from India, and they are done in local ways.
I am told that in China, a small industry can cost about Ksh30,000, and that person will be sitting in a small room but producing many things that can be exported. Therefore, we need the Government to implement policies that are already there. Hon. Sunkuli has mentioned that there is already a policy in place. We now need to make sure that we improve on this. Create cheap credit facilities for investors and also give them incentives so that they can invest more in that. We can only grow as a country if we can export. If we just rely on imports, our economy will not grow. We must find a way of exporting. And Kenya is a very rich country. We have abundance of human resource and cheap labour, and that is why you find that most 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.
are going to work abroad because most of those countries do not have labour. They are looking for labour in Africa and we can also utilise on this. There was one time I was in the USA, and I went to a shop to buy a trouser. When I looked at it, it had a label from Kenya. I was very proud of that, and we want to see where our products are going and where our markets are. The Government, through the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Industry, must deliberately find markets for our products so as to sell them abroad and even locally. We can create those markets because Kenyans, sometimes, buy those second-hand things when we can easily buy them from those cottages. I want to support this Motion and state that we need to look within Kenya and how we can export. Within the tourism sector, we need to look at how we can make Kenyans enjoy the tourist facilities that we have. Some Kenyans have never seen a lion and they stay here because the cost is sometimes prohibitive. We need to see the cost of production and look at how we can reduce the taxes that are put on some of the raw materials that are used in these products. We can then produce them locally and make sure we get quality products for export.
I also want to congratulate our women who are celebrating the International Women’s Day. We are with our women and we support them. May our mothers, sisters and daughters enjoy the day and know that we are the strongest pillar for them. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker. God bless you.
Thank you, Hon. Wanyonyi. This chance will go to the Member for Makueni, Hon. Suzanne Kiamba.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this Motion. I also want to thank Hon. Elachi for bringing this very important Motion on the issues of EPZ that are very crucial for the development of this country. Before I contribute to this Motion, I want to wish all women of this country a happy International Women’s Day and, in particular, the women from my county, acknowledging that women are major stakeholders in changing this country and making contributions. I would not also fail to thank the men who have been holding us as we come up as women. I believe that even for us to come to Parliament, it is not only women who voted us. Men also supported us with ideas and voted for us. As we congratulate women and as they celebrate this International Women’s Day, we want to acknowledge men as partners in allowing us to move forward.
On the Motion, I would like to put across a few points. First, in this country, it is very important to note the issue of export. We are becoming a net importer. This means we earn very limited foreign exchange, and this has continued to make us quite poor. We are not exporting enough to make us earn the necessary revenue, and that is why the dollar is going up and this is affecting our businesses negatively. When we look at manufacturing in this country, we realise that the EPZs gives us the best opportunity. As a country, this is an area that we need to own and promote. If this is the main manufacturing zone for Kenyans, then we need to promote it so much that we ensure we get the required foreign exchange. In the past, EPZ has been doing well. But if you visit the zones in Athi River, you will realise that they have laid down many staff. The major reason this is happening is because we are not even locally giving them the required market. All of us are running to wear Turkey and Indian clothes. I have nothing against India and Turkey, but I think we cannot start feeding children of other mothers when our own children do not have food. It is a matter of priority, as this Motion proposes. As Kenyans, it is good to focus and ensure that we promote our EPZs as much as we can, not only in terms of policy, but even in implementation. If you look at our uniformed men and women, most times, they are getting their uniforms from elsewhere. Why can we not buy from ourselves? If we cannot buy our own, who will believe in what we are making? We need to move forth with a kind of a slogan or policy where we say let us first buy Kenya. I do not know whether it is a fact or a theory in Israel, but 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.
they say that before any money goes out, it must revolve 70 times in Israel. Why can we not have something similar in Kenya? That before any money goes out to anybody else, it must revolve 50 times among Kenyans. In doing so, we will ensure that we promote our own manufacturing zones.
Secondly, the issue of unemployment has been over-emphasized. We are one of the countries that has a very high level of unemployment. Unless we expand our export zones, I do not know where we are expecting employment to come from. If we gave them the necessary support, we would be well positioned as this would become our learning zones. If you read Kenyan newspapers, you will find out that a lot of manufacturing is going on, but things are different on the ground. If we were told to take people to those manufacturing zones, where would we take them? I have personally travelled in this country and noted that the manufacturing areas are very limited.
I support this Motion that has been brought by Hon. Elachi. We must support our EPZs and before we think of scaling them to other counties, can the one in Athi River work to the maximum? Taking it to other counties when we have not maximised the export at Athi River means that we will only be spreading very thinly. I think this issue is long overdue and needs to be focused on.
Lastly, I have been wondering as a person when Kenyans will think like Kenyans. When will Kenyans love themselves? I say this in relation to those exporting zones. You realise that apart from the manufacturing that is happening in the EPZs, we have a lot of ginneries like the one in Makueni and in many other areas. We do not have any cash crop in arid areas. If we could promote crops like cotton, then we would not only provide the raw materials needed in EPZs, but we would have the required cash crops and income. Cotton is a dead crop. In terms of export, sugar-cane is also going on its knees. It is very important that this Motion is given the focus it requires and not only at this level, but also moving it to implementation so that it can impact our country. Hon. Temporary Speaker, with those few remarks, I support this Motion. I hope we can move forward in promoting our exports. Thank you.
Thank you. Hon. Kibet from Bureti Constituency. He is not in the House. Hon. Kirwa from Mosop.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this Motion on EPZs. Before I do that, allow me to wish all the women great day during the International Women’s Day because they play a major role in this world. They are the decision-makers in most homes, teachers, professors and leaders in most of the institutions. I wish them a great day, especially the women in this Chamber led by the Temporary Speaker, the Member who sponsored this Motion for today and all the other women. In our community and in our economy, women play a major role. I wish you all the best and a great day as we celebrate the International Women’s Day in the world. I also want to thank Hon. Beatrice Elachi for bringing this Motion. Kenya, as one of our Members has said, is a net importer. We import more than we export. So, the Export Processing Zones Act that was introduced in 1990 was intended to transform this country into an industrialised nation. However, we somehow did not manage to invest and improve on this project. I believe that even the coming Government will invest quite a bit on those EPZs, not only here in Kitengela, but also spread them all over the country so that the rest of the country can also enjoy the benefits of EPZs. If you look at some of the countries that have truly moved from Third World to First World, or even to upper middle income, like what Kenya is trying to do, they have invested a lot of their resources in industries. The EPZs is one area that we need to truly invest in and take a lot of our time to see what we need to do. As we speak, it is employing 60,000 Kenyans and 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.
even more. When it was started, we never envisioned things like the COVID-19 pandemic that came up and affected many companies. The EPZs are struggling to stay afloat because, as we speak, they may have laid off many of their employees. It is, therefore, time to relook at it and figure out what incentives we can give to the traders and those who are involved in making sure that EPZs continue to thrive. We cannot use the regulations that were there before the COVID-19 pandemic, because the cost of production has gone up, including the cost of raw materials and fuel. We have not gone back to see what we can do to sustain them. Currently, the country is facing shortage of currencies like the US Dollar because we are no longer exporting many products. We are using the little dollars that we have to buy imports. Had we invested a lot in the EPZs, we would have quite a bit of dollars that would have helped us to truly generate and keep our economy. But because we did not do that, we are suffering. One of the areas that we ought to invest in is those EPZs and, as such, I truly stand to support this Motion by Hon. Elachi. We ought to give them the subsidies. She talked of the 20 per cent waiver to enable them to continue earning instead of them shutting down. All over the world, most industries are subsidised. Most countries have given subsidies to their industrial companies so that they can continue to employ. As we said, most of our people are now going out of this country. They are going to Australia and the USA because they have shortage of labour there. Their industrial companies are hiring and they need people who can work manually. In Kenya, we need to take advantage of this. As much as we are ‘exporting’ people outside this country, we need to also invest, as most of the Members have said. If you go to New York or Dallas to purchase a shirt or a trouser, you will run into a Kenyan made shirt or trouser costing maybe USD120, which is approximately Ksh13,000 here. If you go to a local market, you may not be able to purchase that kind of product because it might be above the average Kenyan but, at the same time, it will help us bring a lot of income into our country. I support this Motion that we need to enhance the EPZ programmes in the country to allow traders to continue with their trading. Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker for giving me this opportunity to support this Motion. Thank you.
Member for Mwingi West, Hon. Charles Nguna Ngusya.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to this Motion by Hon. Beatrice Elachi. Let me start by thanking her and secondly, wishing all the women a happy International Women’s Day. This Motion is coming at a time when we are experiencing unfavourable balance of trade in this country. I am talking about regionally, that is Africa and internationally. You will also realise that this Motion is coming at a time when we are implementing a new CBC Education System. We will not lack issues of labour when it comes to implementing it. Another issue is that it is coming when the Kenya Shilling is losing ground on major world currencies like the US Dollar, Euro and Sterling Pound. Implementation or enhancement of these EPZ programmes in the country will have a positive economic multiplier effect in our economy. The only way to actualise or sort out the myriad of challenges that we are facing as a country is to go towards industrialisation and increase exports more than imports. We will have so many programmes or benefits if we are going to actualize the famous paper we put in Vision 2030. I am happy that there is a serious legislation which was given in the 1990s by the then President Daniel Moi when we started this programme, but now it has collapsed. We need 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.
revive it and based on that, we will have no issues of unemployment. Majority of our youth and women are lying idle in our rural countryside. Secondly, we will have what we call investment opportunities abroad. Apart from exporting to Uganda or the East African regions, we will enhance our exports in other countries if we are going to promote and enhance those programmes of EPZ. There are so many issues which have been raised, like the issue of the cost of production. Kenya is one of the countries that are facing challenges of high electricity cost in the area of production. There is also the issue of inadequate funding when we are experiencing global challenges and a shrinking economy. The other thing is inadequate supply of raw materials. This should, however, not be the case. If we are told we are going to promote those things, we will have farmers coming in and I think those challenges can be addressed. With those few remarks, and without belabouring so much, I support and thank you, Hon. Beatrice Elachi, my resident Member of Parliament. Thank you.
Thank you. Hon. Dorothy Ikiara.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker. First, allow me to celebrate all the women in this country as we celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day. I also want to celebrate you, Hon. Temporary Speaker, because you are in the Chair today. I celebrate you as a young legislator who has made it to that level, and this is a clear indication that women have made remarkable strides in every scope of what they want to achieve.
Hon. Temporary Speaker, allow me to celebrate the women teachers in this country. Having served as a teacher for many years, I celebrate the women teachers because of the enormous responsibilities that are bestowed upon them. I can see some of them in the House today, because they have nurtured all of us and enabled us to be where we are today. I celebrate teachers in a big way.
Allow me also to celebrate our first lady, Her Excellency Mrs. Rachel Ruto, and the second lady Her Excellency Pastor (Dr) Dorcas Rigathi, who have been championing and devoting all their time to pray for this country. That is because all that we are planning to do, we cannot do without peace. I celebrate them among very many other women. Having said that, I want to support this Motion and add my voice to it as I thank Hon. Beatrice Elachi for coming up with this very important Motion, which is very timely.
Hon. Temporary Speaker, in 1990 the EPZ was started by the then President of the Republic of Kenya. It is a long time now, and we would be expecting the EPZ to have spread to other parts of this country. However, I cannot underscore the fact that this programme has been steadfast, and it is still in operation since then. Having employed a total number of 60,000 Kenyans, we would say this is a huge employer, but a lot more can be achieved if we can be steadfast in ensuring that our country becomes an economic country that can provide employment for Kenyans.
Hon. Temporary Speaker, we have been worrying so much day in, day out about the very many youth in this country who are not employed. Besides the white-collar jobs that we offer, we can create employment both informally and formally using the available channels that we have in this country. One of the ways is ensuring that we have investors coming to this country, ensure that we have factories and provide the locally available raw materials. If we can provide cotton from our farms, we will need to have more factories and employ our youth.
I am aware that the cost of electricity in this country is far too high, and this has been a huge challenge. However, the fact that electricity is expensive cannot stop us from starting other EPZs that can enable this country to thrive like the other countries. Normally, we are shocked because when we go to other countries like the USA, we come back with bags full 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.
clothing. When you look at the labels of the clothes like jeans that we buy even from the American stores, you will realise they are made in Kenya. When we go to our shops in Kenya, the first question that we ask when given a garment to buy is whether it was made in Kenya. When we are told it is made in Kenya, we do not even have time to look at it. We want to buy things made in Turkey, India, Pakistan, and any other place, but not in Kenya. It is high time we promoted and walked the talk of “Buy Kenya Build Kenya.” I am sure if we do that, even this policy that we are talking about will be actualised.
I support this Motion. The issues that Hon. Beatrice Elachi has raised about inadequate funding are something that we can tackle as a matter of policy so that this country can produce enough for ourselves and for export. I, therefore, urge all Kenyans to embrace the policy of “Buy Kenya Build Kenya”, then as a country we will have all the reasons to spread out and start those EPZs in other counties.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker. I support this very important Motion.
Thank you, Hon. Dorothy Ikiara. This chance will go to the Hon. Member for Kitutu Masaba, Hon. Clive Gisairo.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker. First, let me wish all the women of Kenya and most importantly the women of Kitutu Masaba a Happy International Women’s Day I would like to support this Motion by Hon. Beatrice Elachi on the importance of us putting more emphasis on the EPZs. The world is evolving, our education system is changing and we need to adapt to the changes. With the introduction of the CBC, we are moving more to a technical environment rather than a theoretical one. We need to think of how to create industries for those youth once they are done with their education. As we embrace CBC, I would also urge that most of our youths should start embracing TVET colleges. That is because CBC is more aligned towards TVET rather than the normal university education that we are used to. With this kind of training, we will need to be prepared to absorb those youth into industries. The EPZs was a well-thought-out idea but, somehow, it has lost traction. As we speak today, Kenya is a net importer. That is why we are not able to even strengthen our shilling. As many contributors to this Motion have said, as at yesterday, the shilling was at Ksh138 to the US Dollar. This cannot be good for the economy of this country in the short term, mid-term or in the long run. If we, as a nation, do not think of how we will start exporting more and importing less, the economy is not going to regain. Each region in this country has its own strengths. Hon. Temporary Speaker, why do we not have more of these EPZs for the local market? That is taking advantage of what each region can produce at a lower cost. This creates jobs and also a market for raw materials for that specific region. When I heard the Speaker say that they found trousers labelled ‘Made in Kenya’’, I just hoped they did not purchase them because if you purchase them in the USA, what you have done is participate in capital flight. If you have US$50 when you are in the USA and buy the same thing, you receive a US$50 item at US$150. As a country, we lose US$100. So, let us encourage the people there to fly back and buy locally. The EPZ needs to be strengthened. Our marketing sector; Brand Kenya, needs to up its game. We cannot only be exporting tourism and expect that we are going to save the economy. We have to start producing more. Otherwise, the youth out there will not have jobs and the onus will rest on us. We, as leaders, will have the biggest challenges. Hon. Beatrice Elachi has brought this to the House at the best and most opportune time. We need to support it and urge the Government as it is a bottom-up Government that this is the place to start. If we do not support industries and production, we will have tough times ahead. I support this Motion and wish that Hon. Elachi brings it to the House as a Bill, we make it a law and later in it, include that we need to have more of this in each county, where 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.
raw materials for each county are processed locally so that we increase revenue and create job opportunities for our youth. I thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker.
Hon. Martha Wangari): Thank you. Let us have the Member for Sirisia Constituency, Hon. John Waluke.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker for giving me time to contribute to this very important Motion. I thank Hon. Beatrice Elachi for bringing this Motion. It is timely and very important. Our country has a lot of potential if only we loved it the way we love ourselves. Most of us Kenyans do not love our country like people in other countries. I have been to the USA, the Americans put their country first. We need to borrow that so that we can build our economy. What Hon. Elachi has brought, for example, the EPZ used to be there those days when we were still young; during President Moi’s time. I think the late President Moi had a vision for this country. Many industries were doing well, unfortunately they collapsed during the two previous regimes. It is only now that we are seeing the current President trying to revive many of these industries and revive the economy. If all Kenyans come in support, this country can improve. We need to add value to our crops like coffee. It used to be called “black gold” during those days, but middlemen have brought it down. Our tea is also liked all over the world, but instead of taking advantage of that to add value on it, the middlemen want to earn more than the farmer himself. If you check the trend in the tourism industry, as of now Uganda is doing better than Kenya. Tanzania is also doing well. Out of the many tourists who are coming to Africa or East Africa, many of them are going to Uganda and Tanzania, which is a pity to our country. The tourism sector should be looked into. The marketing of these crops that we are mentioning if improved, can enhance our exports. We are importing more and exporting very little. That cannot build our country. The EPZs should be improved so that the economy is scaled up. With those few remarks, I support this and wish all women all over the world a happy Women’s Day because they are our mothers and daughters.
Thank you, Hon. Waluke. We will appreciate even Mother’s Day. Let us have the Member for Mwingi North. Hon. (Eng.) Paul Nzengu. If he is not in the House, we will have the Member for Kibwezi East, Hon. Jessica Mbalu.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker for according me this opportunity to contribute to the Motion on Policy Formulation on Implementation and Enhancement of the EPZ Programme in the country that was tabled and moved by the Hon. Beatrice Elachi. We congratulate her as she has brought many other Motions and as a woman, we are celebrating her in the House today. I also wish to join other Members in wishing the women of this country a happy International Women’s Day and more so, women from Makueni, Kibwezi Constituency. They really believed in me and are also celebrating me today as a woman of this country. Hon. Temporary Speaker, I served in the position that you are in for 10 years so, I also celebrate you because you are doing a very good job. Happy International Women’s Day. I am happy about this Motion because Hon. Elachi is asking the House to resolve and not to urge the Government. I have been in this House for long and I know that there is a difference between the terms “resolving” and “urging”. I am happy that the Motion talks about urging the national Government, through the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Industry to, among others, develop a policy with the core objective of addressing the challenges currently facing the EPZs. I ask the Select Committee on Implementation to hasten their work and ensure that the Motions and Bills that we pass in this House are implemented and Kenyans can see the good 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.
work of their representatives – Members of Parliament – who spend days and nights trying to come up with ideas on how to improve the living standards of Kenyans and better their lives.
I echo one Member of Parliament who said that the EPZ was a very well-planned idea. As a strategist, you can have a vision or an idea, but you do not achieve it. It is like having a dream that does not come true. So, the dream or the vision for the EPZ was very well planned. As Madam Beatrice Elachi noted, we are facing many problems and challenges. She is urging and asking the Government to resolve this issue once and for all. We have all talked about the benefits that we get from the EPZ. Growing up, I used to wear jeans and skirts from the EPZ. Currently, production has gone down, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of our youths, women and men are being retrenched at a time when unemployment is a major problem in the country. So, we ask for implementation and enhancement of this programme in the country, so that we create more employment opportunities. We will ensure that our youths are employed. We will ensure that women working in the EPZ have something to feed their children and neighbours. I am not leaving the men behind. They are our biggest supporters, even today. They are our strongest pillars. Men also need to be employed to feed their homes. The enhancement of the EPZ programme will ensure that we create more employment.
I come from Makueni County where we grow cotton, but we have not been able to do it well because we lack water and funds or credit facilities that can be given to our farmers. I am sure that with the enhancement of the EPZ, as suggested by Hon. Elachi, we will be able to give farmers funds and credit to ensure that we grow cotton. If we grow cotton in Makueni and Kibwezi East constituencies specifically, where we have land but lack water and capital, we will be able to supply the EPZ with raw materials and our people will earn a living. We also have sisal plantations. That now extends to other production areas that we need to look at as a country and ensure that we have more money, finances and income in our country.
Hon. Temporary Speaker, the initial idea of the EPZ was to promote and facilitate export-oriented investment programmes and create incentives for export-oriented production in areas that have been designated as EPZ zones. Those are the zones that we are talking about. We will earn more foreign investment through exporting our products from the EPZ. You know what we are suffering from as a country. We are borrowing from outside the country. Why can we not make money through exportation of our products? This Motion needs to be looked at to ensure that this proposal is implemented and not just talked about or debated in Parliament. Parliament makes laws and moves and passes Bills and Motions so, we need to be listened to. I am sure that every constituency and county will benefit from the implementation and enhancement of the EPZ programme in our country.
What is the way forward? We need to look at the challenges that have been pinpointed by Members and see how to take care of them. For example, with regard to inadequate financing, we ask the Government, through the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Industry, to ensure that we have enough financing in terms of credit or cash for farmers or local businesspeople. This is so that we ensure that we are okay instead of importing products from outside the country. We have no problem importing what we cannot produce but why not try and produce it locally first? I echo my fellow Members of Parliament who ask that we buy Kenyan and build our country. That should be our slogan. We should be given an opportunity to buy our products locally, even if they are meant for export, so that we promote some of our industries in the country.
Another way forward is to look for markets and negotiate for market access, especially in the East African Community. This is to ensure that we sell what we produce. I am sure that the Government can do that through the Ministry. Because we lack markets, we must negotiate for market access for our products. 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.
We also need to ensure that since we lack loans and credit facilities, the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Industry and the Government should provide credit facilities and loans for investors and local manufacturers to ensure that they have enough to produce and sell internationally and locally.
This is a well-thought-out Motion. Again, I congratulate Madam Beatrice Elachi who has thought and…
Your time is up. Member for Kanduyi.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to also express my views on the Motion that has been brought by my great sister, Beatrice Elachi. Before I do that, let me also join my colleagues in thanking and congratulating the womenfolk of Kenya on this very great day – International Women’s Day – starting with you, Hon. Temporary Speaker, and the Mover of this Motion. The Motion could not have come at a better time. I congratulate all the women of Kenya. I will forever remain indebted to the women of Kanduyi who came out very early in the morning to make me their Member of Parliament. Happy International Women’s Day. I will forever remain indebted to them. I say, happy International Women’s Day. Fast forward to the Motion that is before the House. From the outset, I wish to state that I support the Motion. When we were growing up in the early 90s, there was a clarion call of “Buy Kenya Build Kenya”. I do not know where we lost track. If you look at the so-called “Asian Tigers” like Malaysia and Singapore, we got independence with them almost at the same time. However, they moved from Third World countries to First World countries while we are still a Third World country. Where did the rain begin beating us? My understanding is that they invested a lot in manufacturing. They set up cottage industries that built their economies so much that today we import from them the clothes we wear. I am alive to the fact that we created the Export Processing Zones Authority Act. What was the purpose of the Act? It was to promote investment and ensure that Kenya is a friendly investment country. Can we say that now as we speak in this particular House? I must say that the rain began beating us somewhere. Where did the rain begin beating us? When a survey was done about the cost of doing business in Kenya, Kenya was rated as one of the countries that have a high cost of doing business. Why? It is because of excessive bureaucracy in registering a business, a high and oppressive tax regime, and high cost of electricity. All along, successive governments have not been putting in a lot of funding towards making Kenya a country that is export-oriented. Kenya is import-oriented. If we look at the surveys that are there, Kenya’s exports only account for 11.2 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product while its imports account for 20.2 per cent. Do we need to go on with this trend? I say no. What do we need to do? The issues have been identified in the Motion that has been brought by our dear sister, Beatrice Elachi. One of the problems is underfunding. As it came out in the President’s Speech, we have been subsidising consumption rather than production. Moving forward, we need to strengthen our EPZs and ensure we allocate adequate funds to fund cottage industries so that we move from a consumption society to a production society. Looking at the Export Processing Zones Authority Act, we need to expand these centres to almost all counties. In the counties, what governors are calling “Industrial Parks” are places where we can have cottage industries to ensure that there is job creation for our people. The cost of electricity is very high in this country. I do not envisage any cottage industry operating without electricity. We need to look critically at the cost of electricity in this country. It is hampering the cottage industry and it is one of the reasons that were identified for non- performance of EPZs. Equally, our tax regime is harsh. For example, if you look at your electricity bill, you will find that almost 60 per cent of the items on that bill are levies. So, 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 look at how we can cut down the cost of electricity, improve our EPZs and make Kenya an investment friendly country. The Motion as moved by Hon. Beatrice Elachi seeks to urge the Government, through the Ministry of Trade, Investments and Industry to develop a policy. We need to relook at that policy framework undertaken before the Export Processing Zones Authority Act was passed to see how we can improve it and carry out effective amendments to the Act, so that we can have the EPZs working, have employment for our people and do exports to other countries to build our foreign exchange. There is need to clearly strengthen our agricultural sector. If we have the EPZs and we do not have raw materials to feed to them, we will be burn from both ends because we will be forced to import raw materials to our EPZs. We need to focus on agricultural production in this country so that we have sufficient raw materials that can be supplied to the EPZs. We must have the requisite skills in the EPZs to produce goods branded as Kenyan that can compete effectively in the international markets. Finally, the Export Processing Zones Authority needs to pull up its socks. I have looked at the audit report of the Export Processing Zones and there is a lot that needs to be done for it to be an organisation that will serve the people of Kenya effectively. I rest my remarks by supporting this Motion. Thank you.
Thank you. The Member for Kajiado Central, Hon. Memusi Kanchory.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute in support of this noble Motion by Hon. Beatrice Elachi who happens to be my constituent. Being an International Women’s Day, as we celebrate all the women in our country including our sisters, mothers and wives, let me start by celebrating the Mover of this Motion and you Madam Speaker. I know women would want to say that they are our support system and pillars of families. As men, we say yes they are; they are our support system. They are the pillars of families. The women of this country are doing a great job. Let me also, in a special way, celebrate the pastoralists women who happen to be the most hardworking women in this country. At least 15 pastoralist counties have been affected by the drought that is ravaging this country but we are seeing resilience from pastoralist women. They have continued to walk hundreds of kilometres in search of water so that they can put food on the table of their families. I want to urge our county governments, especially in pastoral areas, that the idea behind devolution was to end this kind of suffering by poor people. The drafters of the Constitution wanted funds devolved to improve the lives of our people. Today, as we celebrate the International Women’s Day and you look at the achievement of a county like Kajiado where I come from, it is still way behind during the last 13 years that we have had devolution. Our women, daughters and wives are still walking hundreds of kilometres in search of a precious commodity called water. I urge those who have been mandated by the electorates to alleviate the suffering of their people through prudent use of finances. My colleagues have said a lot on this Motion. I support the fact that unemployment in this country is a disaster in waiting. At any one point, if any politician was to call for a baraza any day of the week, he will have hundreds of young people attending.
Hon. Temporary Speaker, as a leader in this country, I look forward to a day that a leader will call for a political rally on a weekday and he will not have anybody to address because people will be busy.
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What can bring such change to this country? It is through coming up with policies to enhance or bring about Export Processing Zones not only in our constituencies but also in our villages. This is the only way that we will create employment. This will also help us see and cover the gaps of raw materials in manufacturing. It will also transform our education system which is not working for us. We have graduates with degrees and diplomas who do not have any proper skills. You can find a graduate who cannot even cook ugali . This has to end in this country. To end this and empower our youth to have skills, we need to go through the manufacturing route. The cost of doing business in this country is prohibiting. As my colleagues said, electricity which is a major factor of production is highly expensive. There are countries that have gone the route that we want to go. What is wrong with us? What did these people do right and we follow such routes? Why is the world manufacturing everything in China? It is because the factors of production are cheap. One of the factors of production that is extremely expensive in this country is not only electricity but also land. The price of land in this country is prohibitive to investors. All these are things that must be looked at critically for this country to progress. I support the Motion and congratulate the Mover. I urge her not to leave it at that but push it into a Bill and bring it back to this House. Let us legislate it into a law that we can enforce. With those few remarks, I support the Motion. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute. Have a happy International Women's Day.
Thank you. The next chance will go to the Member for Gatundu South.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker for this opportunity to contribute to this very important Motion that has been brought forward by Hon. Beatrice Elachi. At the outset, I want to say that I support this Motion. As my colleague said, it should even be pushed forward to a Bill, so that we legislate it. I note with concern that in the just ended calendar year, we finished the year at a deficit balance of payment amounting to a whopping USD948 million. Our balance of trade was standing at negative USD5.4 billion. This is way down from a positive USD1.4 billion in 1994. This tells you that we are increasingly becoming a consumer economy. Hon. Temporary Speaker, there is no nation that is known to ever develop from reliance on imports. Every economy that flourishes must produce its goods and sell them to the world. As it is, we import even the least of commodities. We import toothpicks and matchboxes which are very basic commodities that can be manufactured locally. That means the employment opportunity has been given to someone else in another country. Every time you consume goods from other countries, you have donated an opportunity for employment of our youth. Any opportunity to manufacture locally is most welcome. We must also ask ourselves the advantages of bringing EPZ. We not only get a lot of employment opportunities but also have an exemption of tax on inputs. This means that if we increase the EPZs and we do not produce the raw materials for them, then we are creating an avenue for loss of taxes in this country. This must be looked at widely so that we promote our local industries and farming. For example, we have production of apparels in the existing EPZ in Athi River. However, you find that Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) that used to support farmers to give us cotton which used to be produced in Mwingi and other places in Ukambani ‘died’. These things must go hand in hand. We now have an upcoming industry creating apparel or textile from bamboo. These are huge things that we must promote. First of all, when we start growing bamboo, we will help farmers to retain water, help our water resources, as well as increase the production and recharging of our underground water. This will ensure that the water does not get depleted during drought. We must look at how to help our farmers give us raw materials. 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.
We are a country that produces the most tea in the world. We are the third ranked producers of tea but the first ranked exporters of tea in the world. However, our tea goes to the market without value addition. We sell tea in bags of 70 kilogrammes. If we allow EPZ to come here so that we can add value to our tea, it will mean that it will be leaving our country in Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) that are available in the market. This will ensure that the tea that leaves our country is available in the supermarkets in any other country as exported. Our tea produced Ksh159 billion last year. However, when it went to the world market, it was worth a whooping Ksh670 billion. All this money was lost because we do not add value. If we have an EPZ which adds value to our tea, then all the additional money will be left in our economy. This is how we will help our farmers and create employment for our youth. Hon. Temporary Speaker, one of the things that is so prohibitive in this country is the cost of electricity. Even as we come up with these EPZs, they still find it hard to produce, if our cost of electricity is still prohibitive as it is. We must think of a way of encouraging investors to invest in our clean and green energy that also increases our base electricity, so that we do not have intermittent production like we get using solar and wind. This will help us get more reliable sources of supply which will increase our affinity with investors in this country. If you look at our tax infrastructure in this country, you will find it easier to produce in another country. I welcome this idea of manufacturing. When you visit other economies, it feels good when you find goods produced in this country. When we allow people to come and produce in this country and then export to other countries without the residual benefit, we are losing out. I really support this Motion. As I sit, I wish you and all the women in this country a very happy Women’s Day, especially those from Gatundu South who woke up very early and made sure that they elected one of their own. As they would say in my language, “that one they have given birth to”. It is true we are here to support them and articulate their issues. I wish you and all other women of this country a very happy Women’s Day. Thank you.
Thank you, I will need to confirm from the women of Gatundu South what they mean by “one of their own”. I will give this opportunity to Hon. Andrew Okuome, Member for Karachuonyo.
Thank you, Hon Speaker, for giving me this opportunity. Our problems in this country are unemployment and trade, which means lack of foreign exchange. I thank Hon. Elachi for the Motion because it is addressing these two issues. If we increase our foreign exchange, we will be able to solve a lot of our problems and our foreign exchange can only be increased if we manufacture and earn that foreign exchange. We are told that the cost of manufacturing in Kenya is prohibitive. It is too expensive that many companies migrate from Kenya to other countries thus increasing unemployment which we are already suffering from. We need to arrest the situation. We have to do everything possible to reduce the cost of manufacturing and production. My colleagues have mentioned it – and I strongly repeat– that the cost of electricity is one of the worst problems we are suffering from. My colleagues have mentioned it, and we should think along that direction, that we need to segregate manufacturing areas and give them their own electricity at almost no cost. The Government can absorb that. The Government has a policy of subsidising production. If we go that way, we will be giving a chance to the manufacturers at a low cost of production. They will therefore find that what they export is in demand, cheap and can increase our production. Increasing production will need more raw materials for production. I have in mind the cotton industry which is ailing to a point of near death. I come from a cotton growing zone. A lot of efforts have been made but sometimes there is no market for cotton yet we buy clothes every day from other countries. If we want cotton to be grown, we must ensure we give it a market like the EPZ that will need it. The EPZ is the most fertile export for production of cotton lint and the rest of them. We need to do everything 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.
possible to increase our raw material productivity because these raw materials are needed by the manufacturers whose products are needed because their prices are competitive. It is somewhat embarrassing when you remember our history within the last few years. I know we had a balance of trade with Uganda and Tanzania but the situation has changed. Why? We are being left behind. We were number one in East Africa and I see us one time becoming the last in East Africa in terms of trade. We have to do whatever that is possible so that we can arrest that. What Hon. Elachi brought is an effort towards that end and that is why I support her proposal. Before I end, I also line up my name in celebrating the International Women’s Day in particular reference to the Kenyan women. They have given us support, we love them because they love us and I believe we will work together now and in future. One of them is sitting near me and she is broadly smiling because she likes anything positive about women.
I know Hon. Fatuma, full network, wants to say that she loves you back. Let us get to hear the Member for Kericho, Hon. Beatrice Kemei.
Thank you, Hon. Temporary Speaker, for giving me this chance to speak to the Motion brought by Hon. Beatrice Elachi. But before that, allow me to join the rest of the Members in this House to wish all the women a happy International Women’s Day. I appreciate many women of this country especially the First Lady, Her Excellency Rachel Ruto and the wife of the Deputy President, and legislators here starting with you, seated on that seat, and all the legislators here. I congratulate you and wish you a happy International Women’s Day. We have too many women who have made things to be the way they are. Being home makers, women have no tribe. These are the people who cross borders to live elsewhere and work elsewhere. They are multiskilled and can multitask– they do very many things within no time. I also want to appreciate the women working in EPZ, the professionals, pastors, home makers, legislators, farmers and all the women doing hard work to make sure that they put food on the table. I will not stop thinking and congratulating the women of Kericho County, not forgetting those who are working in the tea estates under harsh conditions. I appreciate and congratulate them for working hard. I believe the women of this country will take their space and say no to sexual harassment and exploitation as we celebrate them today and many other days. Today’s Motion has come at a time when we are celebrating the Women’s Day. The Export Processing Zones Authority is an important authority that was established to mainly facilitate export-oriented investment in this country. In particular, EPZA has done much mainly with the creation of job opportunities to the many people in Kenya. It will also mainly increase income generation. I want to tell the women working for the EPZ that they are very important. This is because they pay attention to detail and produce better quality products. They are also very efficient. I appreciate the great employment opportunities that have been created by EPZ. The EPZ is also important because it helps in skill development. Hon. Temporary Speaker, I want to talk about TVETs. We have many of our youths who enrol there to learn new skills. They can only have such skills developed and practised in EPZ. We should not forget that EPZ products are exported to other countries from which we earn foreign exchange. The EPZ uses locally available materials which should be increased and improved. The programmes also need to be enhanced. It is interesting that people buy clothes that can be made in Kenya from outside the country. I am happy that we have clothes made in Kenya and this is very encouraging. I would wish that our people are informed that we have these products being exported to other countries. We import very good clothes from outside and I want to tell Kenyans that we also have them here. We need to take the 20 per cent 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.
that is sold in our country seriously. We lack marketing and publicity for our products within. Just like we have agricultural shows once in a year, I wish we could also have a day where products from EPZ are marketed and shown to our people. That is how they will appreciate the products and buy from within.
We have the challenge of high cost of production which needs to be looked at seriously. I am saying so because when the cost of production is high, the profit margin is low. This will make the investors to close their businesses and move out. The Government, through the Ministry of Trade, Investments and Industry, needs to look at it seriously in order to attract more investors. We need to consider other sources of power other than electricity so that the cost of production can go down. When it comes to water, it should be harvested. We also need to look for other ways of ensuring that water, being a cost of production, is available throughout.
When we talk of raw materials, we have our own cotton. I appreciate the Kenya Kwanza Government because I believe that it will implement the proposal to improve cotton, being one of the crops grown locally. This will make cotton, the raw material used in EPZ, available at a fair price.
The land on which the EPZ centres are set up should be looked into. Land is also a factor that affects the cost of production upwards. Once it is done, I know that the enhancement will go up. There are many big international brands that prefer Kenyan materials. An example is Calvin Klein. They love our products. The quality can always be improved and this can only be done if the cost of production goes down. The manufacturers will try to ensure that the cost of production is improved.
Having said this, I want to state that the graduates from TVETs should be given space in such places. They need to be given machines, like sewing machines that they need to use. This Motion has come at a time when we really need it. Many of our graduates are unemployed. We have students who scored B+ (plus) going for manual jobs. There is the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) recruiting programme which is ongoing. From what I have gathered, there are people who scored B+ (plus) who are also trying to get enrolled yet the minimum requirement is a D+ (plus). This is to tell us that we need to expand our market spaces. We also need to expand our industries so that they can absorb more of our youths. The cases of unrest in the country are also caused by the high rate of unemployment and I am sure if EPZ is improved, it will absorb many of our youth and women. Our market will also improve within and without.
With that, I support the Motion and thank Hon. Elachi for bringing it forth.
Thank you very much, Hon. Temporary Speaker.
Thank you, Member for Nakuru.
Asante sana, Mhe. Spika wa Muda, kwa kunipa nafasi hii ili nichangie Hoja hii ambayo imeletwa kwenye Bunge hili na Mjumbe wetu wa Dagoretti North, Mhe. Beatrice Elachi. Ni Hoja muhimu sana kwa sababu mambo tunayoyazungumzia leo yanahusu ujenzi wa nchi yetu kwa kutumia rasilimali inayopatikana katika nchi yetu ya Kenya. Kabla sijaendelea kuchangia huu mjadala, nachukua nafasi hii kuwapongeza akina mama wote ndani ya Bunge hili la kitaifa. Pia, nachukua fursa hii kumpongeza Mhe. Elachi kwa kuleta Hoja hii. Ninakumbuka vizuri vile tulivyoteuliwa pamoja kwenye Bunge la Seneti. Tulikuwa pia pamoja na Mhe. Martha, na nawapa pongezi sana. Mungu awasaidie sana. Ninachukua nafasi hii pia kuwapongeza akina mama wote tukianza na wazazi wetu ambao walituzaa, kutulea na kutupa nafasi ya kusoma. Hoja hii ya leo ni ya kujenga uchumi wetu. Bila kuzungumza mambo mengi, ningependa kuzungumzia Nakuru. Nakuru imejulikana kwa sekta ya ufugaji wa kondoo. Mnaelewa kuwa kondoo wa Nakuru ni wa hali ya juu na wana thamani ya juu. Hatuna haja ya kununua zulia kwenye maduka makubwa. Nahisi kuwa hii ni nafasi nzuri kwa wakulima 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.
kujenga uchumi wao. Nina imani kuwa Hoja hii ambayo imeletwa kwenye Bunge La Kitaifa itaweka mambo ya utekelezi kipaumbele. Hakuna haja ya kuongea mambo mengi bila utekelezaji. Ninamuomba Mhe. Elachi ahakikishe kuwa itatekelezwa. Hoja hii inaenda sambamba na yale mambo yote akina mama wanafanya pale mashinani. Nawakumbuka akina mama kutoka upande wa Kuresoi South, Kuresoi North na Elburgon. Wanashona sweta za watoto na watu wazima. Wanatengeneza pia zulia ambazo zinatumika kufunika miguu ili kuzuia baridi. Zile mashine ambazo wanazitumia zimetengenezwa kule nyumbani. Kwa hivyo, tukihakikisha kuwa Hoja hii imetekelezwa, basi akina mama hawa watapata mashine na chochote wanachohitaji kuendeleza kazi zao za mkono. Vile vile, itasaidia wale akina mama ambao hawajaenda shule. Kuna akina mama ambao hawakupata nafasi ya kusoma lakini wana utaalamu fulani maishani. Ninajua kuwa Hoja hii ikitekelezwa, kila mama atafaidika na hivyo tutaboresha uchumi nchini Kenya. Ni jambo la kushangaza kuona Mkenya akifurahia bidhaa kama nguo kutoka nje ya nchi. Huwa ninaona watu wakifurahia kusema kuwa bidhaa kama shuka inatoka Misri ama sweta imetoka Uturuki…
Order, Hon. Member. Hon. Liza Chelule, you will have a balance of eight minutes if you wish to continue to debate this Motion when it is next listed in the Order Paper.
Hon. Members, the time being 1.00 p.m., this House stands adjourned until this afternoon at 2.30 p.m.
The House rose at 1.00 p.m.
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Clerk of the National Assembly Parliament Buildings Nairobi 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.