By Sammy Lutta
Governor Josphat Nanok has raised concern over lack of transparency in mining and petroleum activities in Turkana.
Mr Nanok accused the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining of disregarding laws and regulations governing the mining sector on issuing of licenses to companies engaged in exploration of gold, gemstones and other precious stones without involving his administration.
In a letter dated September 21, addressed to the Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes, the county boss disclosed that the ministry engaged 24 mining companies with interest in gold and gemstone without consulting Turkana officials.
He noted that failure by the ministry to disclose data of reconnaissance and prospecting licenses issued, it is impossible to ascertain the nature of the license as well as what is due to both the county government and local community.
“The Mining Act is clear that the county government must give consent before a license is issued and approved by the Mining Rights Board,” Mr Nanok said.
He further said that The Mining (Community Development Agreement) Regulations 2017 also establishes the committee that formulates the community development agenda for the license holder with respect to that particular community.
The governor called for “a deeper, regular and deliberate stakeholder engagement” to ensure high levels of transparency and accountability.
He said that operation of the mining companies must lead to sustainable development of the local community as the Mining Act (2016) stipulates that the distribution ratio of royalties due from the license holder as 70 percent for national Government, 20 percent for the county government and 10 percent for the local community where the operations are based.
He at the same time maintained that the county is still in dark on petroleum operations by Tullow Oil since it scaled down operations due to Covid-19 and floods before recently granted a chance to resume operations.
“Since Tullow suspended its operations in November 2019 and after it invoked Force Majeure Clause on 15th May 2020 for both Block 13T and 10BB, I have not received any formal communication from the State department of Petroleum.” Mr Nanok said.
He stressed that much was expected from the national government regarding communication as the county government was a major stakeholder.