Workers at Phoenix Metals Ltd push bags of minerals after weighing them at the plant yesterday. (John Mbanda)
Workers at Phoenix Metals Ltd push bags of minerals after weighing them at the plant yesterday. (John Mbanda)

A four-day regional oil and gas conference kicked off in Nairobi on Wednesday with Kenya vowing to ensure that local communities benefit from exploitation of minerals in the country.

Workers at Phoenix Metals Ltd push bags of minerals after weighing them at the plant yesterday. (John Mbanda)
Workers at Phoenix Metals Ltd push bags of minerals after weighing them at the plant yesterday. (John Mbanda)

“We should avoid situations where discovery of oil becomes a curse to the local communities because the exploration process does not benefit them,” said Deputy President William Ruto when he officially opened the 2nd Oil and Energy Services, Local Content Convention in Nairobi.
Ruto said that the African continent has been the stage for a sad and discriminatory narrative; the exploitation of oil and minerals has been tainted if not paired with conflict, limited economic impact and environmental concerns.
“We want a situation where exploration of natural resources benefits the local communities and ensure fair returns for the investors as well,” he said.
The forum provides an opportunity for local service companies to learn from larger oil field service firms as well as oil and gas companies from other countries.
According to the organizers, one of the key concerns in the industry is the lack of a clear law on how local companies can be included in the oil and gas supply chain.
Ruto said it is the unwavering belief of the government that the oil, gas, and mining sectors have the potential to drive the next phase of the country’s growth.
“We believe that if we undertake legal and regulatory reform, make the necessary investments in infrastructure, technology, and skills development, as well as approach the development of these sectors soberly, we will make significant economic gains nationally and regionally.”
Ruto stressed the need to promote the utilization of locally sourced goods, services and labor, to help develop a network of competitive and efficient local suppliers to contribute inputs to the extractive sector, and in the process, create jobs, increase incomes for workers, and improve skills in companies.
He noted that the government will ensure 40 percent of all the public purchases must be from local companies to boost morale of Kenyan manufacturers.
He said the construction of the standard gauge railway, oil pipelines, the Lamu Port, the 10,000 km of road network, and other important facilities for the oil, gas and mining projects will ensure growth across the extractives and other sectors.
Energy and Petroleum Principal Secretary Engineer Joseph Njoroge said plans were underway to come up with a bill that would address the concerns of local communities and those of the investors. Enditem

-Xinhua

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