The National Assembly Departmental Committee on Environment, Forestry and Mining held stakeholder engagements on the Natural Resources (Benefit Sharing) Bill, 2022 with the Ministries of Tourism & Wildlife, Energy & Petroleum and Environment, Climate Change & Forestry.
Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Alfred Mutua was the first one to appear before the Hon. Gikaria led Committee.
The CS who was accompanied by his Principal Secretary in the State Department for Wildlife, Ms. Silvia Museiya, informed the Committee that the creation of a new entity: the Benefit Sharing Authority, presents additional cost for governance of natural resources and has the potential to overlap with other government agencies mandated to manage and license the use of natural resources.
CS Mutua told the Committee that the Bill also presents Constitutional and administrative implementation challenges.
“The common benefit sharing ratio for renewable and non-renewable or extractive resources has failed to take into account the unique nature of each resource, does not recognize the limitation for community, private and investments in the natural resources as well as having failed to recognise the limitation for community, private and investments in the natural resources,” CS Mutua told the Committee.
On behalf of the CS Energy and Petroleum, the PS for State Department for Petroleum, Mr. Mohamed Liban led a team before the Committee on the Ministry’s view on the Bill.
The State Department submitted that the Bill should have been preceded by a policy as a policy framework gives a forward-looking long-term view of the problem and provides guidance and direction for decision making and action in a particular area.
According to PS Liban, the Bill is silent on the roles of State Agencies: Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, National Mining Corporation, Kenya Marine Authority, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, which are charged with the overall management of natural resources within their dockets.
The PS for the State Department for Environment and Climate Change informed the Committee that Benefit Sharing should be left to each sector specific-law to govern.
“It is the view of the Ministry that we do not need a stand-alone law to govern Benefit Sharing since benefit sharing is very specific to a sector and also to a project,” said Eng. Ng’eno.
Notably, the Natural Resources (Benefit Sharing) Bill applies to the renewable and non-renewable resources namely: sunlight; surface and underground water; forests, biodiversity & genetic resources; wildlife resources; industrial fishing; wind; geothermal resources; minerals and petroleum.