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Why Uhuru rejected Bills despite Speaker’s advice

Friday, June 24th, 2022 05:10 | By
Justin Muturi (centre), the National Assembly Speaker, says the House has already adjourned indefinitely and, as such, the Bills will not be reconsidered. PD/FILE

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi yesterday warned that the three bills rejected by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday may lapse at the end of the 12 Parliament, despite a note by the Head of State on why he had reservations with each of them.

Muturi, who ordered that the bills on — Insurance Professionals, Higher Education Loans Board (Helb), and Information Communication Technology Practitioners — be circulated to members, regretted that they would not be reconsidered as the House has already adjourned indefinitely (sine die).

“That, the House being sine die recess, the three Bills may not be reconsidered and shall therefore lapse at the end of the term of the 12th Parliament, in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 141,” said Muturi.

The reservations

Uhuru on Tuesday rejected the bills and forwarded them back to the National Assembly, together with a memorandum on why he had reservations with each of them.

With regard to the Insurance Professional Act, Uhuru raised concerns with clause four sub-clause two, which only provides for two categories of members — fellows and associates. According to the President,  the Bill in its current form stifles the growth of the  Insurance Institute of Kenya, instead of facilitating it.

He noted that the requirement that the membership of the institute comprises only those who have undertaken the Insurance Institute of Kenya examinations and Chartered Insurance Institute of London examinations is unfair, as members of the institute should be separated from examinations and examination bodies.

In addition, he noted that the Bill provides for funds to the institute but is silent on the sources of the funds for the examination board. He said this will have an adverse impact on the operations of the institution with respect to resources needed for critical functions under the Act.

“I recommend that the funds of the examinations board consist of monies allocated to the board from the subscription fees paid to the institute, examination fees levied by the institute, and any person who applied to sit for an examination given by the examination board,” he said.

 On the requirement of a valid practising certificate, Uhuru said that the provision is unclear, adding that it is necessary to bring clarity to the procedure that current insurance professionals can use to be in good standing with the institute.

“ I, therefore, recommend that the Cabinet Secretary, in consultation with the institute, shall in the notice under sub-section one prescribe the procedure for obtaining a practising certificate to be followed by insurance professionals who were in practice on the day of the commencement of this act,” he said.

On the ICT Bill, Uhuru said it failed to define who an ICT practitioner is, and is not clear on members of the councils — whom he suggested should be of good standing.

Professional standing

“I recommend that the Bill be amended and substituted with the following new clause: three persons of good professional standing nominated by associations and one person nominated by the chairperson elected under section 8,” stated the President in the memorandum.

Uhuru also raised queries on the requirement that the council determines the terms and conditions of service of the institute’s officers and staff, including remunerations and benefits payable to them.

He said this is inconsistent with the Constitution, which mandates this function to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

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