The enactment of a proposed law on the sharing of mineral deposits will open opportunities for local people to benefit from the exploitation of these resources, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi said yesterday.
He said the passage of the Local Content Bill 2016 would ensure that local communities are not exploited by multi-national companies extracting oil, gas and other natural resources.
Speaking in Voi town, Gideon, who is the chairman Senate Committee on Energy, said it was ironic that most Kenyans live in abject poverty yet the country has enormous natural resources that are not fully exploited.
The Senate committee was seeking the views of Taita Taveta County residents on the Bill.Multi-national companies extracting oil, gas and other natural resources will no longer exploit Kenyans once a Bill is passed.
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi yesterday said the Local Content Bill 2016 would give Kenyans an opportunity to team up with foreign investors to extract oil, gas and other natural resources, unlike now when large-scale mining companies control the whole extraction industry.
Gideon, who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy, said it is wrong for majority of Kenyans to live in abject poverty yet the country is endowed with enormous natural resources that are not fully exploited.
He said natural resources available in the country only benefit a few individuals at the expense of Kenyans, adding that the proposed law would help address the inequality.
“This Bill once passed into law will rectify the problem as it sets out to correct the ills meted out to certain marginalised and impoverished communities like Taita Taveta and Baringo counties, which are endowed with enormous natural resources that are benefiting outsiders,” he said.
“Operators in the multi-national companies must give Kenyans an opportunity in the extraction industry once the Bill is passed, failure to which they will not be allowed to operate in the country.”
Speaking in Voi town accompanied by his Taita Taveta counterpart Dan Mwazo, Gideon said the proposed law seeks to provide a framework for the development and adoption of local content through ownership, control and financing of activities connected with the exploitation of gas, oil and other mineral resources by locals and local enterprises.
The Senate committee was seeking the views of Taita Taveta County residents on the Bill.
The community members, however, failed to present their views on the crucial bill, saying they had not seen the document.
“We just received the document yesterday (Thursday) and we have to study it before we present our views,” Chamber of Mines Coast chapter chairman Babari Kalema told the Senate committee.
“The Bill is very important to us and we need to understand its contents so that we can effectively present our views to the committee.”
Mwazo told local leaders that they have up to December 2 to give their written submission to the committee.
“We cannot come back here to collect views as we are running out of time. Other counties are waiting for us and you can still make your submission before December 2,” the senator told the participants.
Gideon said the Bill will ensure the local content is entrenched in every aspect of the extraction industry’s value chain through involvement of local communities where mining takes place.
“The good thing is that owners of land and other resources receive revenue due to them. The law is expected to facilitate the development of local economies through the creation of employment opportunities and by ensuring the procurement of goods and services produced locally stimulate local industry,” said the Kanu national chairman.
Apart from stimulating development, the proposed law will ensure foreign companies provide capacity building and increase the local capability to meet international standards in the supply of goods and services.
Gideon, who gave an overview of the Bill, said there would be development of indigenous skills across the extraction industry and application of local mechanisms.
“The proposed law will enhance the participation of local persons in the extraction industry value chain, besides facilitating local ownership and use of local assets and services in the extraction industry,” he said.
The team will today sit in Mombasa to collect views from residents of Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties.
Meanwhile, Gideon said there should be no sacred cows in the fight against corruption. He said the government must get serious and act on corruption once and for all.
Additional reporting by Philip Mwakio