Passengers queue to board an NYS bus to Kawangware from Kencom Bus Stop. The charges are Sh20 to any route. PHOTO | EVANS HABILPassengers queue to board an NYS bus to Kawangware from Kencom Bus Stop. The charges are Sh20 to any route. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL
By SAMWEL OWINO, [email protected]

A parliamentary committee yesterday differed with the government over the introduction of the National Youth Service (NYS) buses for public transport in Nairobi.

The National Assembly’s Labour and Social Welfare committee told Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs secretary Margaret Kobia that provision of public transport is a function of the county government and not the national government.

IMMEDIATELY SUSPENDED

Committee chairman and Bura MP Ali Wario said the introduction of the buses should be immediately suspended as there is no emergency that warrants their entry into the commercial sector.

“We strongly believe as a committee that this project should be suspended until we agree on a number of reservations that we have raised,” Mr Wario said.

The MPs took issue with the ministry on the use of Sh500 million to purchase 39 buses to add to the 27 that are already operating in Nairobi.

RAISED CONCERNS

Budget and Appropriation Committee had also in its report on the second supplementary estimates for 2017/18 raised concerns over the matter.

“It was not clear whether the allocation of Sh500 million had been spent in line with Article 223 since the National Treasury reported it had spent (the money) while the ministry reported a contrary opinion,” reads part of the budget committee report.

Minority Leader in the National Assembly John Mbadi, who sits in the budget committee, said the Sh500 million spent by the ministry was not approved by the committee.

“The Sh500 million on the purchase of the buses was one the items we did not agree on during our meeting and therefore it was left pending,” Mr Mbadi said.

EMERGENCY SERVICES

Prof Kobia defended the introduction of the buses saying they are part of the emergency services offered by the youth service to members of the public.

“During wet weather conditions, people were stranded and the government felt that the NYS buses which were not being used to be introduced to assit,” Prof Kobia said.

“I believe we need the buses and Kenyans too need them according to the responses we have received.”

She added that NYS buses and lorries have been used in many occasions for emergencies and the provision of the transport services was not any different.

Public Service chief administrative secretary Rachel Shebesh also defended the introduction of the buses, saying they were introduced after a public outcry.