Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bill formulation embraced through public participation

By Bob Aston
The Ng’arua Maarifa Centre in Ol-Moran Ward, Laikipia West Sub County on August 18, 2015 played host to a public participation forum on formulation of the County Government of Laikipia Finance Bill, 2015.
The public participation meeting helped to ensure an open and accountable way of the Finance Bill 2015 formulation to the citizens of Laikipia County. This is in line with articles 10(2) and 232 (1) of the constitution as well as section 132 of the Public Finance Management Act.
The Bill provides for the imposition or variation and collection of various permit fees, cess, licenses, fees, or charges and for connected purposes. The Bill shall come into operation on the date of publication in the Gazette as an Act of the County Assembly.
Charles Keru, Olmoran Ward Administrator addressing members of the public

“The Bill in essence seeks to address charges, licenses, permits, fees, rent, cess, and payments. It is important for the public to be aware about the content of the bill as they are the ones who will be affected once it is operationalized,” said Mr. Isaac Mirara, Assistant Sub County Revenue Receiver officer.
The Laikipia County Public Participation Act 2014 provides for the establishment of legal framework for facilitating public participation in county government policy processes and service delivery and for connected purposes. Standing Order 120(3) states, “the sectoral committee to which a bill is committed shall facilitate public participation and shall take into account views and recommendations of the public when the committees make their report to the Assembly.”
Members of the public, private sector organizations, professional groups and interested persons/groups drawn from Sipili area gave their views regarding the Laikipia Finance Bill, 2015. This enabled community members to interrogate various charges, licenses, and payments contained in the Bill.
Passenger Service Vehicle (PSV) operators were particularly unhappy with what they termed double taxation. Most of the time they usually pay licenses, stickers, and even bus park fees in most stages.
Participants following proceedings
Bar operators lamented that at what they termed deliberate attempt to drive them out of business through various expensive licenses that are required to obtain. 
Communities in Sipili requested the County Government to harmonize various licenses so that business people are not required to obtain many licenses, as is the case.
Members of the public also requested the County Government to always ensure that communities receive copies of various Bills earlier enough to internalize the contents before the public participation forums are held. This would enable the public to be well prepared.
Each ward in Laikipia County has hosted one public participation forum on the Laikipia County Finance Bill, 2015 apart from Ol-Moran Ward that has hosted two. The other forum in the ward took place at Red-Cross Hall in Olmoran town.
Interested persons can still submit in writing their submission to the County Executive Member-Finance and Economic Planning through info@laikipiacounty.go.ke or P.O Box 1271-10400, Nanyuki. Deadline for submission is August 21, 2015.
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