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Surveyors oppose plans to hike land rates.

By Stanley Kimuge November 17th, 2023 2 min read

The Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK) has opposed the government’s proposal to hike the land rates and transfer of the National Land Commission functions to the Lands Ministry.

The institution termed the proposal to hike land rates as punitive to ordinary citizens while the transfer functions from the Lands Agency would contravene the constitution.

The World Bank-backed proposal to increase land rates and fees to improve revenue collection by the Ministry of Lands is expected to increase the cost of land by more than 100 times.

ISK president Eric Nyadimu warned the proposals would have ripple effects on the country’s economy and would be costly for ordinary citizens.

“We find that these proposals are very unfair to members of the public and we reject them. For instance, we find that Sh2000 for land search as unfair because the Kenyans already pay taxes which are supposed to be used to provide services,” said Mr Nyadimu.

He noted that the state must first provide services to Kenyans before subjecting them to more taxation.

“We are saying why should the government charge or increase rates when there are no services for instance having rates for freehold land yet there is no proper sewerage or good roads.. We are saying rates should only be based on services that are being offered,” stated Mr Nyadimu.

He also stated that the proposals to transfer some functions from NLC such as land valuation, would negate the gains made on land reforms as the ministry will get more unchecked powers.

“We are yet to decide on what to do next should the proposals go through but we reject these proposals,” added Mr Nyadimu.

Mr Nyadimu made the remarks in Eldoret town during the opening of a two-day eight Africa regional summit that brought together more than 300 delegates from the continent.

The theme of the conference is ‘climate resilient surveying for a sustainable environment’. The event seeks to provide a platform to deliberate on issues that impact surveying in the wake of climate change across the continent.

Mr Nyadimu said that although they back the digitising of land records through the Ardhi Sasa to improve service delivery, they called for the creation of a committee involving professionals and state officials to ensure proper implementation of the system.

Nelly Mbugua the vice president of the professional body said that there is a need for more incentives to encourage more investors to set up green buildings to mitigate against climate change.

“The initial costs to acquire and set up the green buildings in terms of capital is very expensive and we need first ways to bring down these initial costs on the investors and homeowners so that we have more green buildings,” explained Ms Mbugua.

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