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Remove capping on crude oil benefits, Turkana assembly urges parliament

By Joan Letting and Robert Kiplagat | Published Thu, March 15th 2018 at 00:00, Updated March 14th 2018 at 21:59 GMT +3
Parliamentary Committee on Energy Chair David Gikaria (left) with members Lemanken Aramat (Narok East) and Elsie Muhanda (Kakamega Woman Rep) at Suswa Gils after meeting geothermal community representatives. [Photo by Robert Kiplagat/Standard]

Turkana county assembly has asked the National Assembly to remove the cap on the county’s share of revenues from oil exploration.

Making submissions before the National Assembly Energy Committee yesterday, the county assembly said Turkana had the ability to absorb funds from oil proceeds.

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The initial Petroleum Exploration, Development and Production Bill 2015 put the county government’s share at 20 per cent, while the community was allocated 10 per cent of the national government’s share, but proposed that the amounts be capped.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, however, declined to sign the Bill and returned it to Parliament, recommending that the community’s share be slashed by five per cent.

But Majority Leader Bethwel Kobong’in, who presented the county’s assembly’s submission, said the capping would stifle development because they would not get enough funds.

“We vehemently oppose the capping on allocation as stated in the Bill. The county government has the ability to absorb the funds that we will get from the sale of crude oil,” said Kobong’in.

The Energy Committee was conducting public hearings in Turkana County.

Committee Chairman David Gikaria asked the community to give Parliament time to consult, adding that a consensus would be reached soon.

In a similar hearing in Narok County, residents of Suswa in Narok East Constituency asked that royalty percentage from the exploration of green energy at Olkaria be increased from the proposed five to at least 20 per cent.

The residents said five per cent was too little, taking into consideration the impact the exploitation would have on their lives.

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Solomon Muntet said sufficient compensation was critical because the exploration of green energy by the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) and geothermal power by Geothermal Development Company (GDC) at Suswa/Magadi areas would lead to displacement of the locals.

Gikaria, who is also the Nakuru Town East MP, said the committee got more information that could have been left out of the Bill.