Members of Parliament have proposed a Sh2billion boost for the National Oil Corporation (Nock), for it to expand its retail business and shield Kenyans from exploitation by cartels in the petroleum industry.
The MPs, who sit in the House Committee on Energy, want the money to come from the amount set aside for the expansion of the national electricity grid.
In their report to the House, the MPs have asked that Sh1 billion be deducted from the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company, which, according to the MPs had no muscle to absorb the Sh5 billion it had been allocated.
The MPs argued that Ketraco had only used 80 per cent of the money it got in the last financial year and that, with that history, it was evident that the company was unlikely to utilise all the money that would go its way.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There is a need to channel some of the exchequer fund to other critically important sub-sectors which have not been adequately catered for,Ã¢â‚¬Â said the MPs in their report.
The other Sh1 billion will come from the Geothermal Development Corporation.
Thus, the Nock, will come out with a Sh2.2 billion budget.
The MPs were alarmed that while Kenyans suffered under the yoke of high fuel prices, the Treasury was not doing enough to strengthen Nock as had been promised by the government.
For instance, they argued that with a budgetary requirement of Sh4.1 billion, Nock had only been allocated Sh195 million.
Nock, told the MPs that it needed Sh1 billion for Ã¢â‚¬Å“retail expansionÃ¢â‚¬Â and Sh1.6 billion to build a petroleum terminal and a truck-loading facility in Mombasa.
The move by MPs will ensure that the country is not that exposed to the conniving multinationals that have in the recent weeks been accused of hoarding fuel, create an artificial shortage and push for huge price increases.
The Rural Electrification Authority will also benefit with Sh1 billion if the House agrees with the MPs proposals.
The Energy Committee said that the fuel prices were Ã¢â‚¬Å“erraticÃ¢â‚¬Â given that they depended heavily on the global market.
They termed Ã¢â‚¬Å“limited investor interest in oil and geothermal exploration, an obsolete oil refinery, inadequate port facilities, stressed oil pipelineÃ¢â‚¬Â as some of the bottlenecks affecting the industry.
It is not clear if in the re-allocations the committee is preparing Nock to get ready for the oil drilling that is set to begin in the country in the next five or so years.
Kenya has discovered oil in Turkana and is all set to begin drilling.
The country too is laying a pipeline from Lamu to South Sudan to help the landlocked, newly-independent country, transport its oil to overseas markets, given the bad blood between Sudan and South Sudan on oil revenues.