BY MARTIN MWITA
FOREIGN mining firms will have to offer a minimum of 20 per cent shares to the public through the Nairobi Securities Exchange, Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has said, citing the proposed amendments in mining laws.
The government will further be granted 10 per cent shares in any foreign mining firm under a free carry investment plan if the proposals are adopted.
This will allow Kenyans to benefit from the exploitation of the country’s natural resources, Balala told the Star in an interview.
“Free carry means free share for government. We have asked companies to list 20 per cent of their shares. We want it done transparently, raise funds publicly, transparently and you have a broad participation of Kenyans or investors who are in the stock market” he said.
The CS said multi-billion projects that cannot be financed locally will however be allowed to source for funds outside, but will have a four year window period to list at the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
“We believe there is a very vibrant financial sector in the country to finance big projects,” said Balala.
He said the government understands the large investments required in the mining sector, hence it will be flexible, but under the law.
Balala said despite the fact that most of mining companies declare losses for the first ten years listing listing 20 per cent shares at the NSE is compulsory.
He said the Mining Bill currently before Senate is expected to become law by November 1,
The Bill will also seeks to regulate small scale minors which Balala said if not checked will destroy the sector.
“We give a block to cooperatives and then they will have to pay royalties,” he said.