Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta has been barred from participating in Parliamentary business until he presents a statement on the depreciation of the Kenyan shilling against the dollar.
Temporary Speaker Dr Joyce Laboso made the ruling Thursday afternoon following demands by Gwassi MP John Mbadi, who lamented that the minister had delayed the statement for too long.
“We will not transact any business with the Finance minister until he brings a statement on the state of the shilling,” said Dr Laboso.
Mr Mbadi had asked the Temporary Speaker for a ruling as neither Mr Kenyatta nor his assistant Dr Oburu Oginga was in the House to deliver the statement yesterday afternoon.
The MP had asked for a statement on June 16, when the shilling was trading at Sh89.4 to the dollar, with the rate on Thursday at a mean of Sh104.
Mr Kenyatta was then said to have advised the MP to let the matter cool down as it was causing panic in the public and the House would discuss it later.
The continued silence on the matter led to yet another request for statement by Githunguri MP Njoroge Baiya on July 21.
On Thursday, Mr Mbadi said the Finance minister ought to have presented the statement last Tuesday, based on a commitment he made to do so before Parliament went on a break on September 8.
He later told the Nation that an adjournment motion to have Parliament discuss the crisis caused by the depreciation of the shilling had been refused on the basis that there is still a pending statement.
The Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Finance and Planning has also become interested in the matter and summoned Central Bank governor Prof Njuguna Ndung’u last Tuesday.
Prof Ndung’u on said it would take “two, three or even six months” for the shilling to stabilize and it took long for CBK to take measures to strengthen the shilling because it had thought it needed a gradual solution “but we didn’t expect it to go on.”
CBK, he said, had thought the problem facing the shilling required less immediate attention and that it did not know it would be affected by global problems.