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Challenges Kenya Must Address in the Oil and Gas Sector

Following the conclusion of the second local content convention speakers pointed out various gaps that must be addressed if the country is to benefit from the growth in the nascent oil and gas sector.

According to Capacity Development Consultant partner Gichira Kibira the biggest hurdle remains the lack of a legal framework that continues to bring uncertainty and keeping away potential investors. Among laws that are in the works in the country include: The Petroleum Bill 2015, The Energy 2015, The National Energy and Petroleum Policy among others.

Experts also see the powers in the hands of the executive as a threat with various decisions left to the cabinet secretary for Energy with the risk for abuse.

Also linked to the too much discretion in the executive is the politicization of investment and employment where government officials and members of parliament use their influence to push for the employment of their communities with little regards to qualification or to suitability of investment.

Physically the country still lacks requisite infrastructure such as tarmac roads, airports, pipelines, telecommunication coverage among other challenges that have seen increase in costs by investors as delays continue.

Due to the lack of clear legislation there are also disagreements of revenue sharing between national government, county governments and communities.

On the public front there is a challenge rising from the lack of information and awareness as well as unrealistic expectations with the public expecting overnight wealth from the discovered reserves.

There is also concern on the capacity of law enforcement even once the needed legislation is in place as this remains a major challenge in various issues in the country with various agencies still lacking the capability to maintain their oversight roles.

“There is a risk that should these concerns be addressed we could see the crop up of various resource risks including resource based conflict, corruption and mismanagement, environmental destruction and  increased human rights abuses,” Gichira says.

 

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