Econews Africa | 6 April 2021
What’s next? Kenya-UK Economic Partnership Agreement
In August 2020, the UK and Kenyan governments hurriedly negotiated the UK-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). By 8th February 2021, the EPA had been tabled for ratification in the National Assembly. By 18th February 2021, the Parliamentary Committee on Trade and Finance called for comments for their consideration before the ratification of the EPA that was slated for 25th February 2021. What followed was a push back by Kenyan Members of Parliament who needed time to consult on the implications of the agreement on the country.
This is the story of Econews Africa’s engagement with Kenyan parliamentarians and their advocacy efforts through media sensitisation and public interest litigation.
Breakfast Meeting with Parliament’s Economic & Business Caucus Groups
On Thursday, 25th February 2021, Econews Africa initiated a meeting with Members of Parliament from the Economic & Business Caucus Group. During this meeting, Econews presented on the implications of the treaty to the country and a strategy was developed to ensure the ratification motion was rejected by the Speaker.
A motion to ratify the UK-Kenya EPA was tabled in the afternoon of Thursday, 25th February. Hon. John Kiarie, a member of the Economic Caucus Group and a participant in the breakfast meeting, set the ball rolling by raising a point of order. He argued that the Treaty as posted on the website was not complete and lacked all the supporting documents and the annexes. This means that public participation was not effective as the public was not granted the complete document for their scrutinization.
“If the documents as confirmed by the deputy clerk were not received by this House, then it is a serious issue. This is Parliament of the Republic of Kenya and we must have a say on the ratification of the agreement.”- National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.
"The devil is in the details. We are entering into a treaty where we will cede some custom duty and until we see the details of the agreement, we will withdraw from this agreement." - Hon. Chris Omulele
Following submissions by other members, the motion for ratification was then rejected by the National Assembly Speaker.
The #trade deal was to be ratified by @NAssemblyKE last Thursday, but the members raised the issue of missing annexures that contain the details of the type of goods that the UK will ship into the country duty free for 25 years.
— Econews Africa (@EconewsAfrica) March 4, 2021
Making the Headlines
Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum and Econews Africa file a petition/ litigation suit against the UK-Kenya EPA
On Monday, 1st March 2021, Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum and Econews Africa instituted a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) suit against the UK-Kenya EPA citing, among other issues, the lack of adequate public participation in the development of the Treaty.
Media Breakfast meeting
Econews hosted a media breakfast meeting on 2nd March 2021. The purpose of this meeting was to conduct media advocacy on the issues related to the UK-Kenya EPA. Through this meeting, the media was sensitized on the issues/implications of the UK-Kenya EPA.
Parliamentary Committee on Trade, Investment and Cooperatives hosts a public participation forum
The Committee on Trade, Investment and Cooperatives held a fresh forum for the public to make their submissions at Ole Sereni Hotel from the 3rd -5th March 2021. The forum was attended by Econews Africa, KAM, KNCCI, Kenya Flower Council, Kenya Association of Waste Recyclers (KAWR) and RaiSugar/PanPaper.
"UK farmers and producers enjoy heavy subsidies... Their counterparts in Kenya do not enjoy such luxury. The net effect of the agreement is to make Kenya’s products less competitive in the domestic market against the UK imports"#FTA#FlagIndependence https://t.co/xU4Fawo9FN
— ASweetPoison (@Asweetpoison1) March 10, 2021
Despite the ratification of the EPA by the Kenyan Parliament on 9th March 2021, Econews Africa will proceed with their petition against the Attorney General. They will also continue working with Parliament to ensure that the Treaty Making and Ratification Act is amended so that public participation is not done at the tail end of negotiation processes.