38 key bills shelved as MPs’ term expiresWednesday July 27 2022
Lawmakers failed to pass critical bills that would have helped lower petroleum prices, tame the ballooning public debt and streamline the collection of property taxes before the House adjourned ahead of the August 9 general election.
The life of the 12th Parliament will come to an end on August 8, without MPs approving 38 Bills.
Key among the Bills that will lapse include the Petroleum Products (Taxes and Levies) (Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Public Debt Management (Authority) Bill, 2020 and the National Rating Bill, 2022.
The Petroleum Products (Taxes and Levies) (Amendment) Bill contains provisions to lower taxes on petroleum products in a bid to save consumers from high pump prices.
The Public Debt Management Authority Bill seeks to establish an independent state agency to review the purposes for all borrowing proposals floated by the National Treasury and advise the National Assembly on the feasibility of the loans.
The National Rating Bill was to repeal the current Valuation for Rating Act of 1956 and the Rating Act of 1963 to modernise the rating laws in line with Article 209 (3) of the Constitution which empowers county governments to impose property taxes.
“Some of the National Assembly Bills that remained pending as at June 9, 2022, and which may be republished for reintroduction in the 13th Parliament include the Petroleum Products (Taxes and Levies) (Amendment) Bill, 2021,” Speaker Justin Muturi said in his last communication before the House adjourned.
The National Assembly left behind 16 Bills while the Senate did not approve 22 Bills that were under consideration.
A further 20 Bills were undergoing a concurrence process between the two Speakers under Article 110 (3) of the Constitution.
Kenya goes to the general election on August 9 to elect new lawmakers who will seat in the 13th Parliament starting September 2022.
Other critical Bills that failed to see the light of day include the Huduma Namba, the Investment Promotion (Amendment) Bill, the Startup Bill, the Coffee Bill, the Mung Beans Bill and the Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill.
Had the Petroleum Products (Taxes and Levies) (Amendment) Bill become law, a levy that motorists pay to support a fuel subsidy scheme would have fallen to Sh2.90 from Sh5.40 per litre, VAT on petroleum products slashed by half to four percent and fuel would be exempted from the annual inflation adjustment.
The Committee on Finance and National Planning approved the Bill and tabled the report in Parliament in November last year, setting the stage for its debate and approval.
About 40 percent of the retail price of petrol is consumed by taxes and levies such as excise, value-added tax (VAT), import declarations fee, road maintenance, petroleum development, petroleum regulatory, railway development, anti-adulteration, and merchant shipping levies.
The MPs also went on an indefinite adjournment without passing the Public Debt Management Authority Bill, 2020 which seeks to halt excessive government borrowing.
The Bill requires that due diligence be carried out on the government’s debt-funded projects in terms of their actual costs and economic returns.
The latest data by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows that Kenya’s total debt stood at Sh8.56 trillion as at end of May this year.
The National Rating Bill, 2022 establishes uniform legislation to be used by devolved governments for the collection of land rates.
The failure by MPs to pass the Bill has denied counties powers to collect rent from tenants and occupiers of land whose owners default in payment of rates.
The Bill provided that the chief government valuer would collate the valuation rolls drawn by counties.
The House also failed to review hospital charges including professional fees, cost of medicines, hospitality and medical devices to lower the charges