Nigeria to assist Kenya to develop oil sector - Envoy

By The Citizen

Nigeria's High Commissioner to Kenya, Mr Akin Oyateru, said in Nairobi on Thursday that Nigeria would assist Kenya in the management of its oil industry.

Oyateru made the plan known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) ahead of the three-day official visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to Kenya.

He said with Nigeria's comparative advantage over Kenya in the oil sector, the Federal Government would  be willing to assist that country in many ways.

Oyateru said that the visit of Jonathan, which would focus on the expansion of co-operation between both countries would be used to achieve the purpose.

'Kenya just discovered oil, so we have a lot of comparative advantages there, which we can actually impart in them.

'We will assist in exchanging ideas, collaborate and cooperate in the area of training and capacity building,

'We could also help them in the area of redrafting their legislation to have a proper legislation in that sector,'' he said.

NAN reports that it was recently announced that Kenya oil resources met the threshold for commercial exploitation raising hope of that country joining the league of oil producing nations.

Specifically, Africa Oil, a Canadian oil and gas company together with British explorer, Tullow Oil Plc. had put Kenyan oil reserves at the estimate of 368 million barrels, a level capable of commercial exploitation.

Oyateru said that Nigeria would also tap from the broad knowledge of Kenya in the areas of horticulture, floriculture, dairy production, hospitality and tourism.

'In the area of hospitality and tourism, we can learn a lot from Kenya;  as you know, Kenya is one of the preferred destinations for tourists,'' he said.

In the area of manufacturing, Oyateru said, he was expecting joint ventures from private investors from both countries in cement and sugar production.

According to him, Kenya has a large deposit of limestone and is vast in the production of sugarcane.

He said two Nigerian banks, UBA and Ecobank, had already established in Kenya while GTB recently bought 70 per cent of Kenyan Fina Bank and hoped to fully take off early next year.

'We are encouraging Kenyan banks to open in Nigeria so that there will be cross fertilisation in the area of banking and finance.

'With that, we can build a lot of capital here in Africa, strengthen our stock exchanges so that when we need to raise fund or bond we do not have to go to foreign stock exchanges.

'If we do this in Africa, the money will remain in Africa.

'We can raise fund within the continent for big infrastructure projects like trans-Africa roads and rail and open more shipping lanes in order to bring the cost of business down,'' he said.

The envoy said that Nigeria and Kenya would enter a joint anti-narcotic campaign agreement as well as agreements on expansion of relations in the areas of immigration, trade and investments, mining, culture and tourism.

He said there would also be an agreement on visa exemption for holders of official and diplomatic passports from both countries.

NAN reports that  Jonathan's visit to Kenya will be the first state visit by a Nigerian leader to that country in 25 years.

Kenyan Foreign Affairs Secretary, Amina Mohammed, had described the visit as 'an incredibly significant visit for both countries''.

According to her, the visit will help both countries to handle 'previous challenges of engagements''. (NAN)