Utamaduni Day changed to Mazingira Day as Ruto signs into law Statute Law Bill

Wednesday, April 24th, 2024 13:09 | By
President William Ruto signs into law the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2024.
President William Ruto signs into law the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2024. PHOTO/PCS

President William Ruto has signed into law the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2024, which amends various provisions of 16 Acts of Parliament.

To strengthen human resource operations in the Attorney-General’s office, the Office of the Attorney-General Act has been amended to introduce an advisory board that will recommend for appointment and promotion of deputy solicitors-general and State counsel.

The board comprises the Attorney-General as chair, and Principal Secretaries of Public Service and the National Treasury, the Public Service Commission chairperson, Law Society of Kenya president and chair of the Council of the Institute Human Resource Management as members.

This change aims to address the issue of inadequate personnel to fulfil its functions, stemming from poor terms of employment for State counsel and the absence of a comprehensive scheme of service for the officers.

In a bold step towards environmental protection and conservation, the Bill amends the Public Holidays Act, renaming Utamaduni Day as Mazingira Day to be observed on October 10 every year.

Mazingira Day will be a day for all Kenyans to engage in environmental conservation activities, including tree-planting and growing.

This move is in line with the government’s push to accelerate the 10-year 15 billion tree-planting programme that includes forest, wetland and rangeland restoration.

The Traffic Act has also been amended to incorporate the use of technology in the management of minor traffic offences.

The Value Added Tax Act has also been amended to remove denatured ethanol from the list of VAT-exempt supplies. This creates an economic safety net and competitive edge for local denatured ethanol manufacturers, particularly millers and sugar manufacturers, who face challenges with cheaper imports.

It also exempts the supply of gas meters from VAT to enhance access to clean energy by low-income households

On the Universities Act, the amendment gives the President power to establish more than one specialised degree-awarding institution specialising in national security issues.

In another amendment, the National Intelligence Service has been exempted from the application of the Employment Act, mirroring exemptions granted to other national security organs.

Another amendment on the Industrial Training Act aligns the remittance date of the training levy with PAYE remittance to the Kenya Revenue Authority, aiming to boost employer compliance.

This is meant to enhance KRA collections, which will fund intern wages and support technical and vocational education training and higher education operations.

To streamline the administration of justice, the new law amends the Oaths and Statutory Declarations Act to replace the Registrar of the High Court with the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary as the custodian of the roll of commissioners and give powers to administer oaths to the registrar and deputy registrar of superior and subordinate courts.

Similarly, the Advocates Act has been amended to replace the Registrar of the High Court with the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary as well as give the Council of the Law Society of Kenya additional powers to make rules on the admission of advocates to the Bar.

Additionally, the new law amends the Notaries Public Act to replace the Registrar of the High Court with the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary.

Also amended in the miscellaneous law is the Sexual Offences Act, with the Registrar of the High Court replaced by the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary as the person responsible for keeping and maintaining a register of convicted sexual offenders.

The Trustee (Perpetual Succession) Act, too, has been amended to assign the Registrar of Companies the responsibility for trust registration, issuing certificates of incorporation, maintaining trust registers and creating regulations. This aims to streamline trust registration procedures.

The amendments to the Public Finance Management Act aims to clarify that the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury must submit the Finance Bill to the National Assembly by April 30 in line with the Act, the National Assembly Standing Orders and court rulings.

The signing ceremony was held at State House Nairobi in the presence of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula and Attorney General Justin Muturi, among others.

More on News