State Department of Mining Principal Secretary John Omenge has called for more training of public sector professionals in order to unravel the underlying mining potential in the country.
Omenge pointed out that the authorities in charge of the public sector need to up their negotiation skills in order to enable the country get maximum benefits from natural resources.
“Through training of professionals, they will be able to come up with policies and draft of agreements that will put Kenya at vantage point in getting the real value of its minerals while engaging with foreign investors commercially,” he affirmed.
Speaking during the kick off of a two day Extractive Industries Training for Public Sector organized by East African Development Bank Friday, the PS said that EADB bank is carrying out training for professionals where they will exchange skills on how they can put minerals into full utility to achieve more value.
“This event has been graced by senior government officials across East Africa, thus a good avenue to exchange ideas for the betterment of our respective countries,” Omenge noted.
National Treasury and Planning Principal Secretary Julius Muia argued that for the country to get full benefits from its minerals, we need to do a lot in improving human capital.
“We should focus more in building competency in mining by instituting an intensive capacity building program in our country,” Muia highlighted.
He noted that over the past years, we have done badly in drafting lopsided policies and agreement pacts with foreign investors on mining, thus impacting negatively on revenues.
The training, he said, will empower the professionals to come up with extractive policy and agreements that will enable the country get good compensation on its minerals.
“Refining our negotiation skills will enable us create more employment and cement our gains in the extractive industry,” the PS reiterated.
East Africa Developmental Bank Director General, Vivienne Yeda observed that East Africa has been losing most of its wealth from extraction of minerals.
“This calls for training of the public sector professionals in development of legal and policy frameworks that will be pivotal in ensuring the respective members get good bargains from their minerals,” Yeda emphasized.
She underscored the need for government to continuously engage in improving agreements on mining, but faulted the public sector’s inadequacy in preparedness, knowledge and strategies, which she said had cost countries greatly during negotiation processes.
Yeda advised countries to familiarize themselves with foreign laws on mining so that the drafted agreements become accommodative and responsive to current needs.
The two day extractive workshop that has brought senior government officials from the East Africa region will offer capacity building on better ways of negotiating contracts pertaining to natural resource management in the extractive industries
By Peter Ochol and Joy Nzula