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Muthama to government: Make good use of geologists to revolutionalise mining industry

Former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama has urged the government to make good use of geologists and mining engineers to unlock the untapped economic potential of the country’s minerals while at the same time calling for the abolishment of what he described as a ‘discriminative’ tax policy in the sector.

Addressing geologists and various mining stakeholders during the ongoing third edition of of Geo-East African Conference and Expo (GEOEACE 2024) themed “Beyond 2030: East Africa’s Geo-Resources Portfolio for Economic Development and Energy Transitions”, Mr. Muthama who is also a Commissioner for the Parliamentary Service Commission said the mining industry is quite promising but keen attention hasn’t been directed to it like the agricultural sector.

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“It is a very unfortunate scenario in our country that despite having many trained geologists, the government is yet to engage them to add value to our mining sector, therefore, for this sector to thrive in terms of its economic potential, it should be mandatory for geologists to be involved in any kind of mining in this country,” said Mr Muthama.

He added: “Since as a country we have many trained geologists who aren’t engaged, the government can afford to engage them so that they can go across the country and advise small-scale miners instead of neglecting them while in other sectors like agriculture, we have seen the government empowering farmers through subsidies and sending agricultural extension officers to farmers.”

Mr Muthama who has become a household name because of Gemstones now wants the government to adopt an open-door policy to attract many investors in the mining industry for the country’s economic growth.

“The government should adopt an open-door policy to make Kenya the mineral giant of the continent and this can be made possible through benchmarking to countries like Israel and Thailand organized through Kenya Chamber of Mines including government officials from Ministries of Mining, Trade and Investment,” he said.

The former lawmaker went ahead: “The government abolishing discriminative tax policies and bureaucracies in terms of acquiring licenses can help the government revolutionalize the mining industry by attracting a lot of investors with friendly policies.”

Mr Muthama who is also the Rockland Kenya Limited director asked the government to review its fiscal policy specifically the one on the mining sector to encourage many investors.

He is proposing that the government should reduce the proposed six percent royalty on rough Gemstones to not more than one percent.

“To eliminate the bureaucracy in the process of clearing the exports by limiting clearance to be done within 12 hours. Miners should be given 120 days for royalty payment. Do away with the one percent development levy and instead deduct it from the paid royalty,” said Mr Muthama.

Last year, Mr Muthama won a case against Section 183 of the Mining Act 2016 popularly referred to as the Mining (Prescription of Royalties on Minerals) Regulations 2023 which High Court judge Hedwig Ong’udi declared unconstitutional.

The High Court agreed with Rockland Kenya Limited that the Mining (Prescription of Royalties on Minerals) Regulations 2023 were not subjected to public participation in line with Section 5(2) and (3) of the Statutory Instruments Act.

Mr Muthama in an affidavit had pointed out that the regulations came into effect vide Legal Notice No.187 of 2013 on August 16, 2013, while the Statutory Instruments Act came into effect on January 25, 2013, meaning that the rules should have been subject to the public participation requirements of the Statutory Instruments Act.

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