Governor Joseph Lenku has formed a taskforce to regulate the harvesting of sand and other natural resources.
The task force, which was unveiled on Monday, will also review the rate of the levies being charged on the resources in a bid to boost revenues.
Kajiado, Makueni and Machakos counties supply construction sector in and around Nairobi with the largest amount of quality sand.
Former county ODM chairman Daniel Osoi who switched loyalty to Jubilee side after the last year’s general election is chairing the task force.
The taskforce is also mandated to look into sustainable ways of managing harvesting of sand and regulating their prices.
Osoi said, for a long time, the owners of the resource that is mainly harvested along Kajiado’s many seasonal rivers have benefitted brokers and owners of trucks financially more than the local people.
“This sector benefits more than 150,000 people directly or indirectly from employment and we have to ensure the resource is sustainable. We will have to regulate its harvest by building more dams along the rivers in a bid to stop the resource from being swept to Indian Ocean,” said Osoi.
He said a full truck of sand from Kajiado leaves the owner of the farm with only Sh2,000, while six loaders, who are from the local community, are paid Sh1,800.
The same commodity is sold in Nairobi at Sh50,000, said Osoi.
The chairman said the taskforce, which has a lifespan of 1 year, will seek to review the amount of levies charged on natural resources such as charcoal and building stones too which are found in many parts of the county.
Recently, a farmer accidentally discovered natural gas in Kajiado West sub county and the taskforce is also mandated to follow up the same with the government agencies to establish if the discovery has been fully confirmed.
A sample of the gases was shipped to the US late last year and Kenyans have not received a feedback on the same.
Environment Chief Officer James Sankale, who is a member, said the team will also seek to boost revenue from local resources by aiding the trail of the revenues from the sites to the county coffers.
“We shall be revisiting how we exploit the resources and how we can make them more sustainable as we get more revenues from a reformed revenue stream system. A lot of money is lost between the source and the county accounts,” said Sankale.
Osoi said the 9-member task force will also zero in on the charcoal business as well as identify how they can rehabilitate water points within the major rivers.
“We shall have about one year to review our natural resources revenue chain. We shall seek to make those who work there have more sustainable livelihoods,” added Osoi.
Osoi said the team will crack down on mushrooming sand sites and quarries that have caused a lot of deaths to local residents.
“We shall engage the leadership of the sites and the community. The ideal situation will be to earn revenue, protect the resources and remain safe,” said Osoi.
Other members of the task force are; David Kitasho, Patricia Kerempe, Alice Jemeli, Jackline Saita and the finance and environment chief officers as well as the directors of Licensing and natural resources.