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What to expect when Parliament resumes today

Thursday February 13 2020

Kenya National Assembly

Kenya's Parliament in session. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

IBRAHIM ORUKO
By IBRAHIM ORUKO
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The 12th Parliament resumes Thursday (today) for the third session with a loaded in tray, as the preparation of the 2020/21 national budget starts in earnest.

The two Houses would have resumed business on Tuesday February 11 but this was adjusted to Thursday to allow members to mourn and attend the burial of former President Daniel arap Moi who was buried yesterday.

Before the budget consideration kicks in in earnest, the National Assembly has to dispense with vetting individuals that President Uhuru Kenyatta had appointed as Cabinet and Principal Secretaries when he reorganised his government in January.

During the reshuffle, the president sacked Mwangi Kiunjuri as the CS in charge of Agriculture and nominated former Nyeri senator Mutahi Kagwe as CS in the Ministry of Health while Betty Maina was appointed to head the Trade and Industrialisation portfolio.

Mr Kenyatta has also nominated Johnson Weru as Trade PS, Dr Jwan Ouma (Vocational and Technical Training), Mary Kimonye (Public Service), Ambassador Simon Nabukwesi (University Education and Research), Solomon Kitungu (Transport) and Enock Momanyi Onyango (Physical Planning).

Speaker Justin Muturi communicated the nominations during the Special sitting on Monday.

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The House has to put out an advert in at least two mass circulating media and give the public seven days to forward any concerns they may have with the nominees to the National Assembly.

The two CS nominees will be vetted by the Committee on Appointments, which is chaired by the Speaker of the National Assembly while the PS nominees will be vetted by the House departmental committees.

The committee and the House will then have seven days to vet the nominees and vote to either approve appointments of the nominees or reject them altogether.

NATIONAL BUDGET

The first task for both Houses will be to consider the Budget Policy Statement (BPS) as the first step towards the preparation of the national budget.

The law requires the Treasury CS to submit the BPS before parliament before February 15 of every year. With Fridays out of the calendar of Parliament, the document must be tabled in Parliament Thursday in line with requirements of the law.

Other documents the CS must submit are the Debt Management Strategy Paper, the Division of Revenue and County Allocation of Revenue Bills.

BPS is a policy document that sets out the broad strategic priorities and policy goals that will guide the national and county governments in preparing their budgets for the coming financial year and over the medium term.

Parliament has until February 28 to approve the BPS while both Houses will have until March 16 to approve the Division of Revenue and County Allocation of Revenue Bills.

The CS Treasury has until April 30 to submit the budget proposal, or Budget Estimates, to Parliament. It is also the deadline for the Judiciary and the Parliamentary Service Commission to submit their budgets to Parliament.

It is also expected that the raging debate on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) will dominate deliberations in the two houses during this session.

The BBI report, launched in November last year, has radical proposals on the amendment of the constitution which will have to be done by parliament in this session.