By E Njega
COUNTIES MUST BE EMPOWERED TO EARN REVENUE FROM NATURAL RESOURCES IN THEIR AREAS
During JKL show on Wednesday, Ketracco MD and CEO Fernandes Barasa was asked about how the local community would benefit from the 310MW Lake Turkana Wind Power project which is in Marsabit County.
Barasa’s answer pained me a lot. He says the community will benefit through a few CSR projects. What kind of nonsense is this?
This company will be making a minimum of KShs 12 billion annually from the project by selling 1.46 Billion units of electricity at KShs 8.8 per unit. Once that threshold is met any extra units will be sold to Kenya Power at KShs 4.4 per unit i.e. 50% discount meaning more revenues to the company.
This company has acquired 150,000 acres of land without compensation and there is an ongoing court case on that hence can’t comment much about it. This is land nearly the size of Nairobi County.
The area is said to boast some of the best winds in the world. Shouldn’t this resources be valued like other natural resources such as oil, gas and minerals? The area is not fit for many economic output due to harsh climate.
As I have argued often we need to empower counties to earn revenues from resources in their jurisdiction. How can we allow a foreign company to exploit such resources without Marsabit County directly benefiting from it? The idea of building a dispensary, borehole or school here and there as CSR is an insult to Kenyans.
What harm would the company face if it cedes part of its shareholding to the county government of Marsabit so that the people of that county can share in its profits? If that is not possible at least 10% of its revenues should go to the County Government of Marsabit.