Public debt, pending bills dominate MPs induction meeting

They recommended privatisation of the more than 180 state owned entities which were knee deep in losses.

"How can we deal with the guaranteed debt for Kenya Airways given that its a company posting losses. Do we need to privatise it more maybe?" posed Nyaribari Chache MP Zaheer Jhanda.

"We need to be told where can we come in as Parliament to make sure that we stop funding the loss making entities," he added.

The MPs also raised concern about the country's Sh9 trillion debt. A section of lawmakers expressed concern that almost 58 per cent of the country's budget was going towards debt repayment while others sought to have various government programmes scrapped so as to channel the funds to pay the debt.

The lawmakers were in agreement that the 13th Parliament needs to come up with solutions to tame debt management- such as China loans borrowed to construct the Standard Gauge Railway- to avoid a surge in taxes to pay off the debt.

On pending bills, the members were irked by revelations of the Parliamentary Budget office Deputy Director Martin Masinde that the august House had incurred Sh56 billion in the 2022/23 financial year.

Mr Masinde explained that the funds had been approved by Treasury to ministries for new projects not captured in the previous financial year.

This, he said, was made possible by Article 223 of the Constitution which give leeway to the national government to spend monies that have not been appropriated by Parliament.

"The amount that was approved was Sh54 billion but money that has since been disbursed is only Sh27 billion," said Masinde.

"Parliament will however use its various committees to probe how the funds were used and see if it was in tandem with the law," he added.

This paved way for the debate on Parliament's autonomy. "Parliament should be independent and ward off external influence even from the Executive regardless of whether you belong to the majority side," said MP Tindi Mwale.

The MPs induction is expected to continue until September 24.