Kajiado County Assembly has passed the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) amendment Bill.
The County Assembly on Wednesday became the seventh county to pass the BBI Bill after Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Busia, West Pokot and Trans Nzoia counties.
This means that only 17 more counties are required to pass the Bill for it to move to the next stage. Approval by 24 out of 47 counties is required for the bill to be subjected to a referendum.
The Bill was tabled by Ildamat Member of County Assembly (MCA) and Chair of Legal Affairs committee Samuel Teum and seconded by Rebecca Supeyo (Nominated).
In the debate session that took three hours, 32 MCAs overwhelmingly voted to adopt the BBI Bill while only 9 opposed it.
Those who voted in favor of the Bill argued that counties would benefit from the establishment of the ward development fund and the increase of revenue allocation from the current 15 per cent to 35 per cent.
Majority Leader Julius Moipai rooted for the Bill saying that it would ensure affirmative action is achieved as women would now have 47 elected seats at the senate and those vying for Gubernatorial positions are required to pick the opposite gender as their deputies.
Those opposed to the amendment Bill noted that the wage bill is already ballooned and it would be a burden to Kenyans as heavy taxation would imposed on them with the creation of more elective seats.
Keekonyokie MCA Moses Saoyo opposed the Bill saying the proposed increase of revenue allocation to counties from 15 per cent to 35 per cent was unrealistic.
“I oppose the BBI, the wage bill is already ballooning and it will be a burden to an already over taxed citizen. The increase of revenue to 35 per cent to the counties is unrealistic and cannot be achieved,” said Saoyo.
Nkairumunya MCA James Wachunguru reiterated Saoyo’s remarks, adding that Kenyans would be highly taxed with the increase in the number of seats in the national assembly and senate.
He added that moving the women’s representative seat to the senate would affect gains made by the National Government Affirmative Action Funds (NGAAF) in empowering women at the counties.
Kajiado Governor Joseph Lenku congratulated the MCAs for passing the Bill saying that it had confirmed the confidence they have in the handshake.
“You have confirmed your confidence in President Uhuru and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s efforts to unite the country,” said Lenku
Meanwhile the University Presidents Council of Kenya (UPCK) has said that it will fully support the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) as it addresses the repayment of loans to the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB).
The UPCK Chairperson Albert Maloba said University students are delighted that BBI will accord loanees a grace period of four years from the date of completion of their studies before repayment of the loans advanced to them.
“BBI is one of the greatest achievement that University students yearn to have. We are requesting that BBI should have been passed as soon as yesterday because it seeks to ease the settlement into job environment with ample time of repayment of the loan,” Maloba added.
Addressing the Press Wednesday in Nairobi, on the state of Universities on issues touching on universities fee increment, HELB disbursement policy based on BBI and the BBI and tax holiday, Maloba allayed fears that the government has intentions of increasing university fee.
Elsewhere, residents of Igwamiti ward, Laikipia West Constituency promised to support Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), as Laikipia MCAs are expected to vote on the motion this morning.
In a public participation held at the County hall on Wednesday, the residents lauded the proposals to increase the county allocations noting that the ward funds were also meant to devolve the funds further.
In unison, the residents said that it was now upon the MCAs to pass the document, to pave way for a referendum.
“I support BBI because of the increment in revenue allocation from 15 percent to 35 percent to counties,” said Michael Ngugi, who chairs the Association of Persons Living with Disabilities the County.
The residents underscored the need to safeguard the regions prosperity by laying a solid foundation through BBI saying they were not sure if the Mt. Kenya region would produce a president in the near future.
In Coast region, Governor Granton Samboja has urged the Taita-Taveta County Assembly to approve the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020 for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) stating it would save the county’s four constituencies from being merged.
Samboja said BBI was the solution to safeguard and protect the constituencies from being whittled down to two by the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for failing to meet the population quota stipulated in the 2010 constitution.
Speaking at Wundanyi after giving his state-of-the-county address on Tuesday, Governor Samboja said the county had everything to gain by adopting the BBI Bill. “We need to approve the bill so that our four constituencies remain as they are without being merged,” he said.
Already, the County Assembly has received the copies of the Amendment Bill 2020 but it will be subjected to public participation in a week’s time. Each of the 20 Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) from the wards will engage the residents before debating the bill.
The four constituencies of Voi, Wundanyi, Mwatate and Taveta are listed amongst the 27 protected constituencies according to the constitution. None of the constituencies has reached a population threshold of 130,000 people to qualify to be a constituency.
by KNA Team