Petroleum bill takes shape as FoLT takes “community first” message to national assembly.
Community environmental and land rights has come out as a key area of consideration as the Petroleum (Exploration, Development & Production) Bill 2017 which is in the public participation stage, begins to take shape.
Friends of Lake Turkana (FoLT), one of the foremost champions of community interests in the Turkana oil, today presented their recommendations to the Kenya National Assembly’s Energy Committee. In their submissions, both written and oral, the organization faulted parts of the bill and gave suggestions on key areas including fair land compensation, provision of water to the community and the idea of not using the oil to borrow against future revenue.
FoLT has also worked closely with the Turkana County Assembly which has debated the draft Bill and proposed some changes. For example, contrary to the provision in the Bill that the Turkana County government’s allocation from the oil revenue shall not surpass the amount it receives from the Commission on Revenue Allocation, the CA recommends that the Bill reads
“The county government’s share shall be equivalent to twenty percent of the national government’s share.”
Another recommendation by the Turkana Country Assembly seeks to make definite the local community’s share from the oil revenue. It proposes that the local community’s share be equivalent to five percent of the Government’s share and payable to a trust fund managed by a board of trustees established by the county government in consultation with the local community.
FoLT believes that it will be the best opportunity ever to turn around the fortunes of over a million people who have been historically marginalized if the two recommendations are adopted and the Bill becomes law.
The Government of Kenya holds that about 750 million barrels have been confirmed to exist within the Lokichar basin in Turkana County. The country plans to start the early oil pilot scheme project which will see the trucking of 2000 barrels a day of crude oil from Lokichar to Mombasa. It is for this reason that the ministry of Petroleum and Mining wants the Petroleum (Exploration, Development & Production) Bill 2017 passed into law by May.
According to CS John Munyes who was speaking at the annual Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) Week, the ministry will work to ensure the law is passed.
After the public participation stage, the bill goes back to parliament for the second reading and discussion.
The participation of FoLT in the processing of the Petroleum (Exploration, Development & Production) Bill 2017 is part of its work in the Lake Turkana basin where the organization uses different approaches in advocating for the local communities to be placed at the center of both the conservation and utilization of environmental resources.