The first local content convection began with uniform calls for support for local business players involvement into the oil and gas sector so that they can also benefit from the opportunities from the sector.
The local content convection took off in Nairobi with presentations from various stakeholders including government, international companies exploring oil and gas in Kenya as well as supporting service local companies in the country.
Chief Guest at the convection cabinet secretary for energy Davis Chirchir stressed the need for local involvement in the sector as a way of increasing employment especially among local communities.
Chirchir says the country will be developing legislation in terms of local content that will formalize the role of local firms in the sector similar to legislations by other countries such as Nigeria, Angola and Brazil.
“We have until August 2015 in line with the new constitution to harmonize the energy sector with the constitution and we hope to ensure there is local participation in the industry,” he said.
According to the principal secretary Joseph Njoroge the Kenyan legislation that is expected to reach before parliament by October this year will push for the adoption of local content in projects carried out by Kenya in the entire region.
“Already the government has stressed that the lead consultant in the east Africa crude oil pipeline should work with local firms in the bid that was advertised today in local newspapers with a similar advertisement for bids expected in international newspapers in the coming days,” says Njoroge.
Other speakers at the conference stressed that they will push for local ownership in all companies carrying out activities in the oil and gas sectors.
Former energy minister and a member of the senate energy committee Kiraitu Murungi pushed for a legislation that allows for revenues from the industry to flow down to Kenyans even as international companies looking for capital injection use avenues such as the Nairobi Stock Exchange.
“Bottlenecks that stop the trickling down of oil wealth from Kenyans must be eliminated in this policy document. Leaders to make deliberate policies to open space for employment of local personnel,” said Kiraitu.
He added that local legislation should ensure that the companies develop the competitive base to invest, supply goods and above all create income.
Parliamentary select committee head on energy chair Jamleck Kamau also added that the legislation should also require international players in the sector to provide a clear programme for training to create the required human resource even as the government creates a programme to create the needed artisans for the industry.