Ruto said the interest of Kenyans must be protected in the exploitation of natural resources so long as they have the capacity and knowledge to carry out such investments.
“I want to confirm that we are obligated by the Constitution to give first chance of investments to Kenyans and to others thereafter so long as they have the knowledge and capacity to carry out exploration and exploitation of our natural resources,” said Ruto.
“We expect you as Kenyan investors not to give us any reason to get foreign investors. You need to organize the necessary expertise and resources to exploit our extractive industry or sector’s wealth,” he added.
Speaking during the official opening of Geo-East Africa Conference and Expo (GEOEACE 2014) held at a Nairobi hotel, the Deputy President said the government will ensure transparency and accountability in mineral exploitation to avert a situation where some investors benefit at the expense of others.
“There should be an accountability and transparency framework to ensure nobody benefits unfairly over others in exploration and exploitation of mineral resources,” said Ruto
Saying that the government’s resolve to lowering the cost of doing business in the country was unstoppable, the Deputy President said plans to generate 5,000 megawatts of electricity, expanding infrastructure and creating conducive environment for investments were being implemented.
He said the government was committed to the development of the mining sector, noting that Sh2 billion has been set aside as a strategy to increase economic growth through exploitation of resources to help the country achieve the goals set out in Vision 2030.
The Deputy President said the Jubilee administration created a new mining ministry to give the sector the required focus in order to build it up and diversify an economy, based mainly on services and farming.
Ruto said Parliament has approved Mining Bill to help guide the exploitation of minerals in the country following the discovering of mineral resources in the East African nation.
The Deputy President said the Bill seeks to facilitate the establishment of a vibrant minerals and mining sector to avoid the pitfalls of other mineral rich countries where they have caused environmental degradation, conflict and social decay.
“I believe you are all aware that the Mining Bill was passed by Parliament on Tuesday last week. This is landmark legislation as it does away with laws dating back 70 years that still governed the mining sector,” he said.
Ruto said the Bill will soon be enacted into law, providing timely impetus to propel the minerals and mining sector to expected heights.
The Deputy President said it was impressing that the fossil fuels sector has also witnessed rapid growth with remarkable results in oil, gas and coal exploration.
“All these resources will lead to improved and better living standards for our people, re-invigorate our industries and lead to the achievement of our development agenda,” said Ruto.
The Deputy President urged the private sector to take advantage of the Government’s commitment to developing the sector.
The Deputy President said lack of skilled personnel was to blame for underdevelopment at the sector in the past calling on the ministry of Mining to partner with Technical and Vocational Education Authority (TVET) in providing skills to tap the talents among the youth.
Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala commended Parliament for approving the Bill saying it will streamline operations at the sector.
He said among the policy proposals in the proposed law is the establishment of the National Mining Corporation which shall serve as the investment arm of the national government in respect of minerals.
Balala said the Government intends to have a stake in local mining deals but the percentage is yet to be agreed.
“The law proposes that royalties be shared among the central government, which will take 70 percent, County government 20 percent and the community to benefit from the reminder 10 percent,” said Balala.