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Review of EIA fees

The Authority has received a major shot in the arm following a review of the Environmental Impact Assessment fees. Environment Cabinet Secretary Prof Judi Wakhungu said in a gazette notice dated 17th September, 2013 that new EIAs would be charged at a minimum of sh10, 000 or 0.1 per cent of total project cost, without an upper limit. The new rates take effect from 1st October 2013.The regulation removes the maximum limit of sh1 million that previously existed. This will go a long way in helping the Authority fund most of its operations. The review comes as the Authority has been experiencing financial shortfalls partly because of minimal revenues from issuance of licences. “The cap (maximum) has often limited our ability to receive adequate funds to better manage our operations,” NEMA director of Environmental Education, Information and Public Participation Dr Ayub Macharia said in an interview with a local daily.

For instance due to limitation, he says NEMA only received sh1 million in the issuance of the environmental licence to the sh2.5 trillion Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) project.

This is despite having spent more than sh4 million in engaging Lamu county residents in discussions and in paying its technical advisory committee. Had the law been in place Lapsset would have paid NEMA sh250 million

“The money excludes that spent in processing the licence,” Dr Macharia said. The state last year allocated sh478 million to NEMA against the Authority’s budget requirements of about sh1 billion however, the Authority received sh320 million in revenues in 2012 leaving it with a sh252 million hole. In the face of increased economic activity in the country, NEMA’s budget has grown to about sh5 billion.

The new development comes at a time when Kenya has struck several oil finds in Turkana County, a situation that has whetted the appetite of global firms for the local market.

With this new development, it looks like it’s just a matter of days before the Authority can stand head and shoulders with the rest of ‘blue chip’ state corporations.