Agency calls for policy on community progress in mining sector

An institute has proposed the formulation of policy and enactment of legislation to guide community development in the oil and gas industry.

The Land Development and Governance Institute recommended the fast enactment of the 2015 Petroleum Bill, which covers exploration and commercial production of crude oil and natural gas.

INVESTMENT

Ibrahim Mwathane, the institute’s chairman, said policies and laws will also guide on how to engage communities in the mineral exploration sector.

He was speaking in Nairobion Tuesday during the release of a report dubbed “An assessment of social investments in the extractive sector: A case study of Turkana County”.

The focus of the study done by the institute was on Block 10BB in Turkana South Sub-County, which is the most active in terms of the number of wells with concentration on Loperot, Lopii, Lokicheda and Nakukulas communities.

DEVELOPMENT
From their assessment, Mr Mwathane said the Petroleum Bill makes no specific provisions on community development agreements.

“Lack of a legislative framework to guide the aspect of community development in the sector is creating ambiguity in the expectations of each stakeholder,” he said.

The chairman said there also exists a gap in the main legislation guiding the sector, the 1984 Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act, as it gives no guidance on social development in local communities.

The act only refers to employment opportunities and local content development.

The report stated that there is a need for an Act to give guidance on issues of community development, community rights, local content development, publishing of information and revenue sharing.
In their observations, institute executive director Mwenda Makathimo said communities possess limited technical skills therefore making it difficult for individuals to meet the company’s standards of qualification for employment.

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