The Parliamentary Committee on Administration and National Security is on Wednesday slated to hold a sitting to receive public views on the controversial Huduma Bill. The Bill which was tabled in the National Assembly in December last year seeks to among others to reform Kenya’s identity ecosystem by establishing the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) that will be a primary database for both foundational and functional data such as databases of voters, taxes and social services will be built.

“The Act establishes NIIMS, which will operate as a single source of personal data for all citizens and resident individuals in Kenya. Its set up is guided by principles of Digital Object Architecture which includes three components namely: NIIMS Database, Huduma Namba and Huduma Card,”

The draft law which is sponsored by Majority Leader Amos Kimunya also designates the Interior Principal Secretary as the data controller for NIIMS, with the exclusive mandate to ensure data privacy rights of enrolled persons is observed.

The new Bill proposes to issue Huduma Namba to newborns for tax at birth. Late registrations will be met with a payment of a late registration penalty. Upon attaining the age of 18, a minor shall be required to enroll for a new Huduma Namba Card within 90 days.

Section 14 of the Huduma Bill reads, “The parent or guardian of a child shall update the particulars taken at the registration of the child’s birth under the NIIMS upon the child attaining the age of six years… An individual possessing a Minors’ Huduma card shall surrender the card to a NIIMS officer who shall, verify and update the individual’s particular and issue the individual with relevant Adults’ Huduma Card,”

The Bill seeks to repeal and harmonize several laws including the Births and Deaths Registration Act, the Registration of Persons Act, the Kenya Citizens and Foreign Nationals Management Service Act, 2011 (Service Act), the Marriage Act 2014, the Children Act, 2001, the Traffic Act; and the Tax Procedures Act 2015.

Further, the Bill proposes to amend the Tax Procedures Act to provide that every resident individual who has enrolled into NIIMS established under the Huduma Act shall by default be registered as a taxpayer upon attaining the age of 18 years.

“On completion of initial enrolment of resident individuals under the Huduma Act, the Commissioner shall activate tax obligation to every resident individual above the age of eighteen years not registered as a taxpayer,”

Kimunya proposes in the draft law which further provides that Huduma Namba assigned to an individual shall serve as Personal Identification Number for the purpose of tax law.

The High Court last year declared the rollout of the Sh10 billion Huduma Namba project illegal for being in conflict with the Data Protection Act. This is after Katiba Institute cited that the Government had failed to conduct a data protection impact assessment which would identify the risks such as breaches to privacy, loss of data, while some Kenyans might be locked from the roll-out because they lack identity cards.

Edited By: Chepkosgei Jedidah