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PRESS STATEMENT 28TH NOVEMBER 2013 REJECT THE MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS, 2013 AND SAVE 20 MILLION KENYANS!

The Civil Society Reference Group, a network of civil society organisations (CSOs) working in a wide range of arenas for the public benefit across the country, notes with a lot of concern the concerted effort to pass the Statute Law Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2013 that has far-reaching impacts on the civil society sector and ultimately the 20 million ordinary Kenyans who benefit from the contributions of the sector. We as a sector are opposed to the Bill, which proposes to amendment the Public Benefits Organizations (PBO) Act No. 18 of 2013 among other sectors such as the National Police Service and the Devolution Act and are calling for its rejection for the following reasons: 1. Reversal of a negotiated regulatory framework: The PBO Act 2013 was an initiative of the civil society organizations whose purpose was to bring checks and balance in the non-governmental sector; a move that has been welcome by the non-governmental (NGO) in other parts of world. The Act is aimed at increasing coordination, self- regulation, accountability and transparency in the sector. However, the Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2013 published on October 2013 contradicts the PBO Act 2013 and Government declaration to support the sector which has played a crucial role in development The following has been inserted in the Miscellaneous Amendments Bill which has grievous impact to the sector: (1)Article 27A. (1) Any funding of a public benefits organization shall be made through the federation and not by any individual member organization

(2) A public organization shall not receive more than 15% of its total funding from external donors (3) Notwithstanding subsection (2) the Cabinet Secretary responsible for finance may approve receipt of an amount of more than 15% where there are legitimate and compelling reasons for increasing the amount. 2. Donor funding to be PBOs Capped at 15% PBOs have contributed significantly to foreign exchange with over 90% of the KES152 billion received in foreign exchange, making this sector a significant earner of foreign. The proposed amendments will see PBOs access only 15% of their budget from foreign funds. This will be a big blow to the sector as of the 8,500 PBOs in the country are heavily donor reliant for most of their activities where 1,757 of these are delivering 47% of Kenyas public health services. The bill has far reaching for the people who access services at affordable rates; the Mwananchi. 3. The Impact of the Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2013 to the Mwananchi The NGOs have continued to effectively work with Government to complement its efforts to ensure the most basic of needs are met in the most remote areas and by needy populations.

Some of the key reasons why Kenyan should reject the Amendment is: 1. Kenya will lose Ksh. 152 billion CSO contribution that goes into development 2. KES 25 billion health care funding will be lost with 20 Million Kenyans will not access basic health care 3. 6.8 million Kenyans will NOT be tested for HIV and 1 million HIV infected Kenyans will lose ARV treatment 4. 14 million youth risk increased HIV infection, pregnancies and substance abuse. 5. 56% of women in Kenya may die due to unsafe delivery. 6. Hundreds of cases on child abuse and domestic violence will go unreported and perpetrators not punished

7. Hundreds of thousands of low income farmers and small and medium sized young entrepreneurs will no longer benefit from training, soft-loans and other technical assistance 8. 290,000 Kenyans will lose their jobs 9. NGO annual reporting compliance increased from 67% in 2011 to 80% in 2012 10. Jubilee Manifesto will be dishonoured 11. Freedom of association will be jeopardized 12. The independence of PBOs will be compromised 13. Government will no longer be held accountable over the use of resources meant for the public good

Good Act, Bad Amendment! In view of the forgoing, it is obvious that the Act is generally good but the amendment is bad. With barely nine months of existence of the PBO Act, the proposed amendments to the law will see closure of PBOs delivering essential services to Kenyans including health and education.

We therefore call on all our Members of Parliament to reject the Miscellaneous Amendments, 2013 and save 20 million Kenyans!