The State’s bid to fill six posts at the team spearheading sale of government-owned enterprises has been dealt a blow after Parliament delayed approval of nominees for undisclosed reasons.
The National Assembly committee on Finance and National Planning yesterday got approval to extend consideration of the nominees to the board of the Privatisation Commission to the end of November.
Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani presented names of the six to Parliament on October 7 and lawmakers were supposed to vet and approve or reject them within 28 days.
The six positions have been vacant for over two years amid concerns that lack of quorum at the commission’s board is derailing execution of its role in advising the government on the sale of struggling State agencies.
“This House resolves to extend the period for consideration of the nominees submitted by the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Planning for appointment as members of the Privatisation Commission by a period of fourteen (14) days from 6th November, 2021,” read a statement.
The nominees are Mr Edward Kobuthi, Ms Irene Wanyoike, Ms Celine Orata, Mr Salah Abdi, Mr David Nyakang’o and Mr Wellington Godo.
Mwongozo Code of Conduct for State Corporations says the quorum for board meetings must be five members, where the total board membership is eight to nine and four where membership is seven and below.
The requirement is aimed at ensuring effective oversight of State agencies and reducing the risk of mismanagement of State Corporations taking unilateral decisions without board input.
The Privatisation Commission comprises a chair picked by the Head of State, the Attorney-General, Treasury Principal Secretary, an executive director and seven members appointed by the Treasury Secretary with Parliament’s approval.
Battered sugar industry
The commission is at the centre of State efforts to lease Mumias Sugar, Chemelil Sugar Factory, Sony Sugar Factory, Miwani Sugar Factory, Muhoroni Sugar Factory and Nzoia Sugar Factory in efforts to revive the battered sugar industry.
The privatisation agency has only managed to conclude a single deal — the Kenya Wine Agencies Limited (Kwal) in over a decade. The last successful privatisation by government was the Safaricom IPO.