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Speaking at a press briefing in his office, Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the new Mining Bill, which was at the cabinet level would help streamline the mining industry saying all companies would get equal treatment by paying a flat rate in license fees and mining royalties, measures he said could earn the government over Sh10 billion immediately the measures were put in place. He also revoked 31 mining licences issued by the mining ministry between January and May this year saying they were issued in unclear circumstances. At the same time, the government has formed a taskforce to look into issuance of over 500 licences to mining companies since 2003, amidst reports that some were mere briefcase entities engaging in speculation and had no capacity to conduct commercial exploitation. Mr Balala said preliminary investigations indicated that only 20 out of the 500 companies were credible, with others out to make profits through speculation and hoarding of mineral resources, and making super profits by only paying a pittance to government by operating under the cover of export subsidies and other forms of preferential treatment.
Balala revokes 31 mining licences
The hospital admitted that they engaged a South African firm, TECMED in May 2012, but stopped any further engagement with it after Chinese government offered to finance the multi-billion shilling project on condition that only Chinese firms are considered for the contract.
Although the tender has not been awarded, MPs have expressed concern that the project may be derailed as it emerged that the earlier memorandum was binding. The MoU with China Aerospace is said to be having a clause that says, “MTRH does not engage with any other firm”.
The legislators want to establish if the hospital sidestepped the first company and is now favouring China Wu Yi, and whether the MoU with China Aerospace won’t return to haunt the project.
Another concern is why seven senior officials accepted a seven-day trip to China facilitated by China Wu Yi, a month after signing the memorandum yet they had not engaged further China Aerospace eight months after signing an MoU.
“We want to know under what circumstances MTRH signed a memorandum with the two companies. This may end up pitting the firms against each other and may cause unnecessary delay,” Health committee chair Rachel Nyamai said.
The committee yesterday ordered the management of MTRH hospital to furnish MPs with details of the two memoranda.
The legislators put hospital CEO John Kibosia to task to explain the status of the project given the existence of the two memoranda.
Public hospital nurses yet to receive July salary despite government promise
Updated Monday, August 5th 2013 at 22:17 GMT +3
KENYA: Sections of civil servants, including nurses, are yet to be paid their July salaries as the crisis in the public sector continues.
At least 20,000 nurses working in public health facilities are yet to receive their July pay despite last week’s promise by the Government to settle all outstanding salaries for public servants.
Chairman of the Kenya National Union of Nurses Jophinus Musundi confirmed to The Standard that nurses were almost at their wits ends. “We don’t know what is going on because the Government promised that our salaries would be ready before August 1 but up to now, no cent has been received in our accounts. We can’t work without money,” he said
He said that after their strike notice, the Government agreed not to transfer their salaries to the counties, making them to suspend the strike for the next two weeks. He warned that further delays in releasing the salaries would affect the performance of nurses in public health facilities.
“We suspended the strike thinking everything had been resolved. We didn’t expect further delays and no one is giving us straight answers on where the problem is. This is unacceptable,” he said.
A nurse who works at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport confirmed that he has not received his salary. He lamented that financial debts had begun piling and urged the Government to sort out the issue. He revealed that some of his colleagues were facing pressure from their landlords to pay rent or be kicked out. Others, he added, were struggling to raise bus fare to go to work.
Union of Civil Servants Head of Medical Chapter Evans Nasebe said officials in the Ministry of Health have telephoned and assured him that money for nurses would be in their banks by today morning.
“It appears that this confusion is caused by the move to rush the process of devolving health services to the counties. We ask the state to be more careful. Devolving health services should be gradual and needs to take three to seven years,” he suggested.
On their part doctors said that some of them received their June pay on Friday.