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State seeks powers to fire bosses of regional agencies – Business Daily

Regional Development Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang. FILE PHOTO | NMG
The government is seeking more powers to fire managing directors and non-executive members of boards of regional authorities in the middle of their terms, in new changes to the law.
The State-backed Regional Development Authorities Bill seeks to provide for the exit of the managing director and non-executive board members “under necessary circumstances.”
Currently, there is no explicit provision for the removal of the managing director and non-executive board members of the existing six regional development authorities.
The Bill seeks to repeal and consolidate laws establishing the Kerio Valley Development Authority, the Lake Basin Development Authority, Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority, Ewaso Ng’iro South River Basin Development Authority, Ewaso Ng’iro North River Basin Development Authority and Coast Development Authority.
The six regional development authorities are currently established by individual Act of Parliament.
The State Department for Regional Development and Northern Corridor Development says the Bill provides for the exit or termination of non-executive board members under necessary circumstances and provides for efficiency in the management of boards.
The Bill further seeks to add a termination clause for the managing director which is currently lacking in the laws establishing the six regional authorities.
“This will provide for exit/termination of managing director under necessary circumstances and provide for efficiency in the management of boards,” Belio Kipsang, the Principal Secretary said in a brief to the House.
The Bill stipulates that the managing director for each regional development authority shall be competitively recruited and appointed by the Cabinet Secretary on the recommendation of the respective board and whose terms and conditions of service shall be specified in the instrument of appointment or otherwise in writing from time to time.
The managing directors of regional authorities will serve for four years and is eligible for reappointment for a term not exceeding three years upon satisfactory performance.
The Bill lapsed following the expiry of the five-year tenure of the 12th Parliament on the August 9 General Election.
The outgoing lawmakers, however, amended House rules to empower the Speaker to exempt legislative proposals that lapsed at the expiry of the preceding term of Parliament from the requirement of pre-publication scrutiny.
This allows proposals that were passed by the House but lapsed at the expiry of the preceding term of Parliament to be reintroduced for approval.
The Defence and Foreign Relations Committee, which scrutinised the Bill, recommended that the House approves the Bill with amendments.
The committee wants the title of the Bill changed to Basin-Based Authorities as opposed to regional authorities.
“The authorities are Basin-based, have similar functions and governance structure, collapsing then avoids repetition,” the committee said.
The committee said the proposed amendment makes the Bill lean and also gives room for the establishment of additional authorities.
The Bill proposes to cap membership of the boards at between seven and nine members from the current 15.
Currently, regional development authorities boards comprise the chairperson, Principal Secretaries (PS) in charge of regional development, finance, agriculture, health, and water, the provincial commissioner now renamed regional coordinator and eight to 10 other persons.
If approved by Parliament, only three PSs responsible for regional development, finance and environment will retain their seats on the boards of Kerio Valley, Lake Basin, Tana and Athi Rivers, Ewaso Ng’iro North and South and Coast Development Authorities.
The Bill proposes to remove the principal secretaries in charge of agriculture, health, water and tourism or their representatives from the boards of the authorities.
The bill also kicks out the current representation of the provincial commission (now renamed regional commissioner) and chairpersons of State agencies like Kenya Power from sitting on the board of directors.
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