Eyes on new MPs to pass key expenditure bills

The National Assembly has opened public participation for two bills which form part of the conditions attached to the Sh139 billion soft loan secured from the World Bank. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

Focus shifts to Parliament which is expected to consider and approve new money bills and policies that will allow the new administration to implement expensive pledges made on the campaign trail including bringing down inflation, containing soaring debt and creating jobs for the unemployed Kenyans.

The new MPs, to be sworn in on Thursday, are taking office at a time the National Treasury has kicked off the process of making a new budget, which will be the first under the William Ruto presidency.

Parliament in June voted to increase the public debt ceiling to Sh10 trillion as a stop-gap measure to allow the incoming government to borrow Sh846 billion to plug the budget deficit in the current financial year.

The increase in the debt limit is an interim measure that will allow the new administration to seek funding to run its programmes as it works towards sustainable ways to raise internally generated revenue.

Lawmakers amended section 50(2) of the Public Finance Management Regulations 2015 to require that “the public debt shall not exceed ten trillion shillings.”

The new MPs will have to approve several Bills and realign the budget estimates to fulfil the pre-election pledges made by President-elect William Ruto, who will be sworn in next Tuesday after the Supreme Court upheld his election victory.

The MPs in-tray will also be full as they will be required to vet and approve nominees for appointment to the Cabinet, Principal Secretaries and other top positions to be filled by the incoming government.

Dr Ruto promised to support the establishment of agro-processing industries for farm inputs in the first 100 days and to implement food security policies under the Big Four Agenda.

He has also promised to provide Sh50 billion per year to fund small businesses and start-ups.

He has also pledged to invest Sh500 billion over the next five years in lower-level agriculture and informal sectors to create opportunities for women and youth.

A further Sh250 billion will be invested in the agricultural sector over the next five years.

Dr Ruto also promised to reverse several policies implemented by the outgoing government and this will require lawmakers to amend existing laws.

The 13th Parliament will also handle more than 38 bills that were left at various stages by the 12th Parliament.

The 349 members of the National Assembly and the 67 Senators are expected to elect their respective Speakers once after taking the oath of office.

President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a gazette notice convening the first sitting of the new Parliament in line with the provisions of the Constitution.

The Constitution stipulates that whenever a new House is elected, the President, by notice in the Gazette, shall appoint the place and date for the first sitting of the new House, which shall be not more than thirty days after the election.

Kenyans went to the polls on August 9, 2022.

National Assembly senior deputy clerk Sarah Kioko will swear in the new MPs. The clerk is the administrative and procedural head of the National Assembly and oversees the day-to-day operations of the House.

The Constitution gives the National Assembly clerk sole powers to administer the oath of office to the newly elected MPs who in turn will elect a new Speaker.

In swearing in MPs, the clerk shall read the notification of the President as published in the Gazette, lay a list of the names of the persons elected as MPs on the table of the House and administer the oath or affirmation of office.

The Standing Orders also require the clerk to administer the oath or affirmation of office to the lawmakers in alphabetical order.

MPs with the longest cumulative period of service in the assembly will also be given precedence in the swearing-in ceremony.

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