Any minerals exploitation agreement over a $500 million threshold in Kenya will be subject to approval by parliament after a new law comes into force.
The Natural Resources Bill 2015 to be debated by Parliament will require for mineral extraction rights granted to investors under national or county legislation to be ratified.
The objective is to enable parliament to ascertain whether the right to exploit a natural resource through a permit or other authorisation was issued in accordance with the requirements of national or county government legislation.
Majority leader Aden Duale said each Cabinet Secretary will establish and maintain a register of agreements relating to natural resources and other transactions that have been ratified.
"The register shall be maintained in electronic format and any member of the public may inspect it without the payment of any fee," states section 11(2) of the Bill. The authenticated printout of the agreement will be obtained from the concerned Cabinet Secretary upon making a request and paying reasonable fee.
The Cabinet Secretary responsible for a natural resource will on an annual basis publish a report summarising agreements submitted and the status of ratification of transactions.
It is feared the Bill may trigger disputes between investors, county governments and parliament especially when a county approves an investment deal but parliament declines to ratify it.
The Bill covers extraction of crude oil and natural gas (hydrocarbons) after approval of a field development plan covering flow pipelines with other output facilities. Other transactions include extraction of hydrocarbons and minerals in wildlife conservation areas or other protected areas.
It covers extracting water in Kenya's territorial sea and underground steam in conservation or protected areas. Excision or change of boundaries of gazetted national park or wildlife protection areas will be ratified.