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The Cost of Land in Kenya to Be Regulated

This comes as both good and bad news.

Bad news to those who want to exploit ready and willing buyers. Good news to those looking to buy land in the foreseeable future.

All this came to light during the recent state house summit on land. The government moved to regulate pricing of land to contain exaggeration of prices by speculators, especially in areas earmarked for huge infrastructure projects.

“Land value is not static. It keeps on changing and so we need experts to tell us how much a particular piece of land will cost in three months, one year or even two years.

This will help us make a decision so that when we invest, we do it from a point of knowledge and not to be surprised because the price can go up or even come down.

The Land Value Bill will assist the government in land acquisition and investment so that there is right valuation of land instead of being driven by speculation,” the PS said.

Lands Principal Secretary Mariamu el Maaey speaking to the People Daily intimated of their being a National Land Value Bill which was already in Parliament. Meanwhile the ministry is developing the Land Value Index to provide statistical information on the value of land in different parts of the country.

The PS said the ministry had mapped core areas in Nairobi using that tool and the price index will be ready by the end of the year before being rolled out to the rest of the country.

To weigh in on the matter: Transport PS Irungu Nyakera said the government had faced challenges from owners and speculators who hiked prices whenever the government showed interest in land.

“When we were building Thika Highway we paid Sh33 billion for land compensation. In the expansion of Malindi Airport, the land cost Sh4 billion while the project itself cost Sh2 billion. Acquisition of land has impacted negatively on the implementation of infrastructure projects, the PS noted.

In a related development, Lands CS Prof Jacob Kaimenyi and the National Land Commission (NLC) chairman Dr Muhammad Swazuri were yesterday at pains to defend the scorecard of their respective institutions.

We all know land to be a hot button issue in this great land. Leaders, investors and members of the public accused the two government agencies of failing to bring sanity in the sector. Speaking during the State House Summit on Land, the two struggled to explain why it had proved difficult for the government to address historical land injustices and recover public lands from grabbers. A matter of immense political implications.

The duo was also accused of doing little to prevent illegal occupation of privately-owned land by squatters, who sometimes use documents from the ministry to claim ownership.

The famous Lang’ata Primary School tussle was used as a point of reference on how blatant grabbing of public land has been a rule rather than an exception.

The Ministry and the Commission, however, said they have issued titles to at least 17 per cent of the over 29,000 public primary and secondary schools and that the issue of Lang’ata Primary has been addressed and the land reverted to the school.

“We have also recovered all the land grabbed in Karura Forest and Eastleigh market. We are now looking at Woodley to recover land illegally acquired,” Swazuri said. Nairobi Governor Dr Evans Kidero chimed in by seeking an explanation on the controversial ownership of 5,000 acres of land in Kayole.

“The County Government bought 5,000 acres of land from Kayole Estate in 1971. In the 90’s the army invaded it and took 3,000 acres without due process to any compensation and four weeks ago, they took the remaining 2,000 acres and blocked a road that passes through the land and nobody, even the police dared challenge them,” he explained.

However, Kaimenyi said his ministry “must look at the context of the background behind which the land was acquired. In law, the government can compulsorily acquire land for health purposes, for security and for all other good reasons,” he said.

In summary, those looking to acquire land in the foreseeable future will be well placed to do so.

This regulation, will go a long way in doing away with the xploitation of land owners by both buyers: who offer monies for land way below the market prices. As well as for sellers who quote exorbitant prices in lieu of making profits.

Source | People Daily