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NHIF, Bomas talks top on agenda as House resumes

Tuesday, September 26th, 2023 07:00 | By
Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetangula makes his entry into the House at a past sitting.

Proposed reforms to the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) are expected to dominate debate at the National Assembly during the new session commencing today.

The talks between President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza and Raila Odinga’s Azimio La Umoja could also find their way into the august House if the negotiating teams reach consensus on key issues.

Also on the agenda is the ongoing investigations into Worldcoin activities.

MPs, who have been on recess since August 24, are expected to resume business today for the last session before they break for the December holidays.

The resumption of sittings comes after the conclusion of a National Assembly Leadership Retreat that brought together Speaker Moses Wetangula, Parliamentary Service Commissioners, Deputy Speaker, leaders of the Majority Party, leaders of Minority Party and Committee chairpersons and vice-chairpersons.

Making his opening remarks during the retreat, Wetang’ula commended members  for accomplishments in the first and part of the second session.

“The challenges we face are intricate and interconnected. It is imperative, therefore, that we come together as leaders to deliberate, strategize and build a roadmap for the future,” Wetang’ula said.

Hospitals fraud

During this session, the lawmakers will be expected to consider reports of the Committee on Health regarding the controversy surrounding NHIF as well as the reports of the joint committee that has been investigating the Worldcoin matter.

The Health committee is expected to meet owners of six hospitals whose contracts with NHIF were cancelled for alleged involvement in fraud.

Chief Executive Samson Kuhora, who has already been grilled by the committee, was accused by MPs of being at the centre of the fraudulent claims and payments made to various hospitals as he was part of those who approved the claims.

The committee is also scheduled to table its report on the Assisted Reproductive Technology Bill.

The Bill, which is sponsored by Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo, seeks to entrench surrogacy and other assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) in the law and have the processes regulated by Assisted Reproductive Technology Authority

Reads the Bill: “The principal object of the Bill is to provide for the regulation of assisted reproductive technology, to prohibit practices in connection with assisted reproductive technology, to establish an assisted reproductive technology, to establish an Assisted Reproductive Technology directorate, to make provisions in relation to children born of assisted reproductive technology process,” reads the bill.

Regarding the dialogue team, MPs, before proceeding on recess, approved the establishment of the 10-member National dialogue Committee.

Azimio protests

The development came after Leader of the Majority in the National Assembly Kimani Ichung’wah and his Minority counterpart Opiyo Wandayi submitted a motion seeking to legalise the talks between Azimio and Kenya Kwanza.

At the end of the talks, recommendations of the committee will be tabled before the House for consideration.

Following the setting up of the team, the two sides have been holding sessions with the latest being ongoing meetings with various stakeholders who have been submitting memoranda.

Raila has threatened to resume anti-government protests if the talks, which were brokered by former Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo, fail.

“We are ready for the talks but we have to engage and finish the process within 30 days. If we cannot find a solution, we will issue fresh directions,” he said.

On Worldcoin activities, the National Assembly Security Committee chaired by Narok West MP Gabriel Tongoyo is expected to table its report for deliberations in the House after meeting various stakeholders

Among those who have appeared before the committee are Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u, Central Bank of Kenya Governor Kamau Thugge, Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki, National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director General Noordin Haji, Director  of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Mohamed Amin, Office of the Attorney General, the Registrar of Companies, Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC).

During the current session, Njuguna and the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage Penina Malonza, will appear before the House plenary.

Njuguna will respond to questions touching on the decline in US dollar reserves, delay in disbursement of the equitable revenue share to counties and give a status report on the impact that de-dollarization by countries such as China, Brazil, Russia, India, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia may have on Kenya’s economy.

Malonza will respond to nine questions touching on her Ministry including on Tourism Promotion Fund Board.

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