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Proposed law to spoil the party for land speculators

The government is planning to change the law on acquisition of land for big projects in a bid to lock out speculators who are front-running the State by acquiring the parcels and seeking heavy compensation.

Authorities are reviewing the rules on compulsory land buying to save its major projects from being stalled or delayed due to lengthy exchange processes.

Acting Lands Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said the plan will ensure that the cost of acquiring land is manageable.

UNETHICAL

“It should be illegal for one person to look at the government’s future plans then buy acres of land from residents at Sh50,000 to Sh100,000 per acre then resell the land to the government at Sh10 million per acre in less than two months. It is unethical and should not be allowed because it is taxpayers that incur that extra cost and the community also loses out on the value of their own land,” Mr Matinagi said on Tuesday.

He was speaking at a forum held by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance on investment opportunities available for the sector in the development of the Northern Corridor Integrated Project (NCIP).

Land acquisition has threatened to stall the construction of the standard gauge railway with governors in areas where the line passes leading residents to protest over poor compensation.

CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE

It has been the same for big infrastructure such the Lamu coal plant, wind farm in Nyahururu with road constructions also falling in this category.

To address this, Lands Principal Secretary Mariam El Mawi said the government is finalising authentication, verification and digitisation of land records to ensure that all registries go online and are interconnected.

The government will then finalise the mapping of the various transport and logistics corridors set to be constructed while giving ample safeguards for critical infrastructure more so the pipeline, which requires adequate buffer zones.

The move, according to the PS, will help the government consolidate all land records and ease access to investment and the development of infrastructure.

TRANSPORT CORRIDOR

The NCIP is the transport corridor linking the landlocked countries of Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Burundi to Kenya’s maritime Port of Mombasa.

Projects under it include the standard gauge railway, ICT Infrastructure, oil refinery development, fast tracking political federation; power generation, transmission and interconnectivity, crude oil pipeline, refined petroleum products pipeline and commodities exchange.

Others are human resource capacity building, issuance of East Africa tourist visa, single customs territory, defence co-operation, peace and security co-operation and a unified air space management.

 

Source: Daily Nation

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