What you need to know:
- The merger, according to a Cabinet paper, shall then lead to acquisition and latter privatisation to return KQ to profitability.
The national carrier is grappling with over Sh220 billion debt and needs a government bailout.
The planned nationalisation of Kenya Airways (KQ) appeared to run into turbulence even before it could take off after National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi directed a reconsideration of the process.
This comes after the report of the Transport, Public Works and Housing Committee on the National Civil Aviation Bill 2020, was challenged by MPs in the House for failing the requisite public participation, forcing Speaker Muturi to intervene.
Mr Muturi told MPs that he did not want to see the House acting in vain especially if the committee’s report that was questioned by MPs Tom Kajwang’ (Ruaraka), Aden Duale (Garissa Township), Bashir Abdullahi (Mandera North) and Kimani Ichung’wah (Kikuyu) among others, is successfully challenged in court.
“I direct that the committee sets aside three days to take views from the public so that everybody feels satisfied,” Speaker Muturi ruled.
The Speaker further directed the clerk’s office to agree with the committee chaired by Pokot South MP David Pkosing when an advertisement for the public participation should be placed in the media.
“It is only fair that we avoid a situation where it could be said that we were acting in vain,” the Speaker said while reminding the House that the route the Bill was taking is similar to the Merchant Shipping Line Act.
The Act was annulled by a three-judge High Court bench on the basis that there was no sufficient public participation. The appeal is pending in the Court of Appeal.
The government is pushing for the passage of the Bill to nationalise the national carrier by merging it with the Kenya Airport Authority (KAA), the industry regulator.
The merger, according to a Cabinet paper, shall then lead to acquisition and latter privatisation to return KQ to profitability.
The Bill, therefore, gives effect to the committee’s report in the House on June 17, 2019 and adopted by the House.
The report recommended the nationalisation of the debt-ridden national carrier after an inquiry into Kenya Airways Privately Initiated Investment Proposal (PIIP) to KAA.
Sh220 billion debt
The national carrier is grappling with over Sh220 billion debt and needs a government bailout to compete favourably with foreign airlines flying into the country, according to a confidential report tabled in the Cabinet.
However, Mr Kajwang alerted the House over the manner in which the committee had done its report immediately Mr Pkosing tabled it to pave the way for the debate on the Bill.
According to Mr Kajwang’, quite a number of stakeholders including the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), private law firms and the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), were blocked from appearing before the committee.
Wajir North MP Ahmed Ibrahim, member of the committee noted that he was among the five committee members who dissented on the report.