16 January 2013

Kenya: Don't Give Mining Shares to Elite


ENVIRONMENT and Natural Resources minister Ali Chirau Mwakwere has given mining companies three weeks in which to show how they will hand over 35 per cent of their equity to Kenyans.

He made it clear that this includes Base Titanium in Kwale who last week received an assurance from the Attorney General that they were not affected by the new 35 per cent regulation.

The whole 35 per cent rule is thoroughly misguided. If implemented throughout the economy, it would turn Kenya into another Zimbabwe and undermine the economy as local elites grab foreign owned assets.

It will not be ordinary people who get the 35 per cent of Base Titanium or Tullow Oil. It will be the business elites who already have the money, or the political elites who can trade their influence for shares.

So the 35 per cent rule will only benefit Mwakwere and a few friends. What Kenya needs is an arrangement with the mining companies that benefits all Kenyans, not just a tiny clique.

Let the mining companies pay a 35 per cent royalty into a special fund and let that money be used exclusively for health and education to improve the lives of all Kenyans. That would be a fair and just arrangement.

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