Developers criticise Nema for reinstating construction fee

Kenya Properties Developers Association chairman Ken Luusa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Property developers have protested the move by the State to reintroduce construction levies paid to National Environment Management Authority (Nema) effective this month, saying it will lead to higher construction costs and hurt the affordable housing drive.

The Kenya Property Developers Association (KPDA) on Wednesday urged the government to rescind the decision, which they said, would worsen the already unsustainable cost of construction.

The lobby said the fees, which were reintroduced effective June 1, would impact the ongoing State-backed development of affordable housing by making construction costly.

“Considering that affordable housing is part of the Kenyan government’s Big Four agenda, the re-introduction of these fees will make it difficult for developers to deliver on the housing agenda,” said KPDA chairman Ken Luusa.

“This is in addition to the unparalleled increase in prices of construction materials that we have witnessed in the recent past depicting the highest prices in history.”

The fees will see contractors pay between Sh10,000 and Sh40 million for environmental audits, depending on the risk levels of their projects.

“The authority notifies the public of the government’s decision to reinstate the EIA processing and monitoring fees, strategic environmental assessment process and monitoring fees and environmental assessment experts registration and licensing fees with effect from 1 June 2022,” said Nema.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, in October 2016, directed the scrapping of the fees paid by property developers as a percentage of the value of projects is punitive.

The removal of the EIA fees was meant to lower project costs and sharpen Kenya’s competitive edge. But Environment Cabinet secretary Keriako Tobiko said, in 2020, the scrapping of the fees paid to the Nema has had an unintended negative impact on the agency’s activities by choking its income and burdening taxpayers.

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