Kenya’s Petroleum Ministry is on the spot for failing to utilize millions meant for training Kenyans on petroleum operations despite massive skills shortage

Cabinet Secretary of Mining & Petroleum, John Munyes (M)
  • According to an audit by Auditor-General Edward Ouko Sh943.9 million ($9.439 million) set aside as Training Levy Fund is gathering dust in local banks.
  • Kenya has more than 845 accredited technical and vocational education and training institutions, but the courses offered are not aligned with global standards.
  • Despite Kenya’s extractives sector – covering oil, gas and mining – experiencing a boom fueled by recent discoveries of commercially viable resources, like oil and gold the sector is still faced with a massive skills shortage.

Kenya’s Petroleum Ministry is on the spot for failing to utilize millions of shillings set aside for training Kenyans on petroleum operations despite the country facing a severe skills shortage.

According to an audit by Auditor-General Edward Ouko Sh943.9 million ($9.439 million) set aside as Training Levy Fund is gathering dust in local banks. Mr. Ouko says the State Department of Petroleum had accumulated Sh943,906,947 for training in a local bank account as of June 30, 2018.

“Therefore, contributions to Petroleum Levy Fund have not been utilised in the most effective way,” Mr. Ouko said in an audit of the department.

Despite Kenya’s extractives sector – covering oil, gas and mining – experiencing a boom fueled by recent discoveries of commercially viable resources, like oil and gold the sector is still faced with a massive skills shortage.

According to a report by Extractives Baraza, on Kenya’s petroleum sector, the extractives sector is still dominated by foreign expertise in technical, exploration and production skills.

For example, Kenya lacks skilled welders who can work on a live oil pipeline. Most polytechnics (higher education institutions with courses mostly in vocational or technical subjects) in the country only offer artisan welding courses. 

Kenya has more than 845 accredited technical and vocational education and training institutions, but the courses offered are not aligned with global standards.

In a bid to counter this skewed balance, the national government set up the Exploration and Production Act which provides for the establishment of the Petroleum Training Levy Fund for training Kenyans on petroleum operations.

In 2016/17 and 2017/18 years, for instance, Mr. Ouko found out that Sh320,764,864 was used on training 55 staff drawn from the department.

However, that also wasn’t smooth sailing and there were some errors. While the staff were trained in financial and human resources management and oil exploration, Mr. Ouko found out that some of the trainees had attended similar courses.

“However, no trainees were drawn from university and colleges or other learning or research institutions and there is no indication that any support was provided by the department to these or other institutions well-placed to enhance knowledge and skills on petroleum operations among Kenyans,” Mr. Ouko said.

Currently, the extractives sector contributes 1% to Kenya’s gross domestic product with the government forecasting this to hit 10% by 2030.

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