Politics and policy
Funding crisis hits bid for digital Lands registry
Posted Thursday, May 24 2012 at 19:45
Automation of Lands registries has slowed down due to inadequate funds and shortage of competent staff to implement the project, a new report has revealed.
An Institute of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK) study conducted in Nairobi, Mombasa and Nakuru registries found that the Ministry of Lands depends on casual workers to implement the project using donor funds, which is unsustainable.
The automation of the registries was to include installation of telecommunications infrastructure and equipment that would convert the paper documents into electronic format.
This sought to curb corruption and ease access of information. Kenyans will now have to wait a little longer following the hiccups.
Mr Collins Kowuor, the ISK chairman, said that there was little improvement in service delivery since the system had not been fully integrated.
“Citizens will still be exposed to fraudsters if the automation is not given the attention it deserves in terms of funding and staffing,” he said.
“Automation will not only help buyers of land by verifying the ownership but also financial institutions who issue loans against titles,” he said.
Lyn Nyongesa, head of ICT in the ministry, said that while the ministry needed Sh3.6 billion in the past two years to implement the project the Treasury allocated it Sh370 million — Sh130 million in 2010 and Sh240 million last year.
“We did a tender in September to digitise the documents in the entire headquarters at a cost of Sh1 billion but the amount is not available even as we speak,” she said.
“We will not be able to meet the short-team goals we had set ourselves, which is very frustrating.”
Last year, a parliamentary committee chaired by Elias Mbau made its recommendations to the Treasury on the issue.
“To fully automate the land registry, which is a key prequisite for collection of property tax for county government, we recommend that Sh650,346,484 be allocated for the purpose,” said its final report on the budget estimates revenue and expenditure for 2011/2012.
Other than inadequate funding and staff, ISK established that the ministry did not involve officials on the ground expected to implement the project in its planning.
“The unique situation of each Lands Ministry registry are better known by the implementers hence it is important to have direct representation in design, monitoring and evaluation of the project as well as in reporting to technical working groups,” said the ISK report.