May 15, 2023 - 08:48
May 15, 2023 - 08:56

If the 2023 Privatization Bill is passed by Parliament, the Minister of Finance will have the power to sell public companies and corporations without question.

President Ruto yesterday said seeking approval from Parliament before selling companies and public entities is “a waste of time”.

The President made the statement a day after the Cabinet under his chairmanship, on Tuesday, approved the bill which is expected to be sent to Parliament.

On Wednesday, Opposition lawmakers and senators vowed to reject the bill, saying it would allow influential people in the government to arbitrarily sell public companies.

According to the Cabinet, the sale of loss-making companies and public institutions will help the country raise funds to build infrastructure and improve services for Kenyans.

The current law on privatization requires the Minister of Finance to submit his recommendations on the companies the government intends to sell. Parliament has the power to approve or reject the proposal.

The Constitution gives Congress and the Senate the power to review the functioning of the central government.

The bill also seeks to strip lawmakers of the authority to oversee the appointment of officials of the Commission for the Regulation of Privacy (PC).

The Finance Minister will be appointing PC officials without the approval of Parliament, according to the Bill which also proposes to change the name of the commission to the Privatization Authority (PA).

The current law requires that the positions of PC commissioners be announced and then the successful candidates be nominated by the Parliament.

The government plans to sell more than 20 companies and public institutions that have been losing money.

Among the companies and organizations targeted are the Oil Transport Company (KPC), the National Port Authority (KPA), the National Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC), the Consolidated Bank of Kenya (CBK) and the Development Bank of Kenya (DBK); the Agricultural Chemicals and Food Corporation (ACFC); and the sugar companies Chemilil, South Nyanza, Nzoia, Glass and Muhoroni.

On Wednesday, Resolution lawmakers, led by Minority Leader in the National Assembly, Opiyo Wandayi and fellow Senator Stewart Madzayo, claimed senior officials in the Kenya First coalition were targeting the companies.

They mentioned the ports of Mombasa and Lamu, Kenyatta and Maasai Mara universities and the National Postal Service.

Other organizations are; the National Institute of Medical Research (KEMRI), the National Meat Company (KMC) and five sugar companies.


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