April 24, 2024

President William Ruto has recently ratified the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2024, ushering in modifications across 16 Acts of Parliament.

One significant change involves fortifying human resource operations within the Attorney-General’s office. By amending the Office of the Attorney-General Act, a pivotal step has been taken to establish an advisory board tasked with recommending the appointment and promotion of deputy solicitors-general and State counsel. This board, chaired by the Attorney-General, comprises eminent figures including Principal Secretaries of Public Service and the National Treasury, the chairperson of the Public Service Commission, the president of the Law Society of Kenya, and the chair of the Council of the Institute of Human Resource Management. This revision targets the longstanding issue of insufficient personnel within the Attorney-General’s office, attributed to inadequate employment terms for State counsel and the absence of a comprehensive service scheme.

In a notable stride toward environmental stewardship, the Bill has amended the Public Holidays Act, redesignating Utamaduni Day as Mazingira Day, to be commemorated annually on October 10. Mazingira Day is envisioned as a national occasion dedicated to engaging all Kenyans in environmental conservation endeavors, including tree-planting and nurturing. This initiative harmonizes with the government’s endeavor to expedite the 10-year, 15 billion tree-planting initiative, encompassing restoration efforts in forests, wetlands, and rangelands.

Further amendments include integrating technology into the management of minor traffic infractions through the Traffic Act. Additionally, the Value Added Tax Act has been revised to exclude denatured ethanol from the list of VAT-exempt supplies, thereby offering a protective shield and competitive advantage to local denatured ethanol manufacturers, particularly millers and sugar manufacturers. Moreover, it exempts the supply of gas meters from VAT to foster access to clean energy among low-income households.

Under the Universities Act, the amendment empowers the President to establish multiple specialized degree-awarding institutions dedicated to national security concerns. Similarly, the National Intelligence Service has been exempted from the Employment Act, aligning it with other national security entities.

The overhaul extends to the Industrial Training Act, synchronizing the remittance date of the training levy with PAYE remittance to bolster employer compliance. This measure is poised to augment Kenya Revenue Authority collections, thereby facilitating intern wages and bolstering technical and vocational education and higher education operations.

In a bid to streamline the judicial process, amendments to the Oaths and Statutory Declarations Act empower the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary to oversee the roll of commissioners and administer oaths. Correspondingly, amendments to the Advocates Act and Notaries Public Act replace the Registrar of the High Court with the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, along with granting the Council of the Law Society of Kenya enhanced authority over advocate admissions.

Moreover, amendments to the Sexual Offences Act and the Trustee (Perpetual Succession) Act reassign responsibilities to the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary and the Registrar of Companies, respectively, aiming to refine registration procedures and regulatory oversight.

Lastly, amendments to the Public Finance Management Act clarify the timeline for submitting the Finance Bill to the National Assembly by April 30, in accordance with statutory requirements, parliamentary standing orders, and legal precedents.

The signing ceremony, a momentous occasion, transpired at State House Nairobi, graced by the presence of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula, Attorney General Justin Muturi, and other dignitaries.