Editorials

City Hall should match land rates with service

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Nairobi City skyline. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The Nairobi County government plans to raise land rates in tandem with property valuation.
  • In its proposal, City Hall says the new rates will be between 0.1 and 0.115 percent of the value of the undeveloped land.
  • The county executive committe member for lands, Charles Kerich, says that with the value of land having risen sharply since the current rates were instituted, City Hall is losing quite a lot in revenue.

The Nairobi County government plans to raise land rates in tandem with property valuation.

In its proposal, City Hall says the new rates will be between 0.1 and 0.115 percent of the value of the undeveloped land.

The county executive committe member for lands, Charles Kerich, says that with the value of land having risen sharply since the current rates were instituted, City Hall is losing quite a lot in revenue.

On the face of it, raising the land rates makes sense. The current rates were introduced in 1980.

However, the question that the City Hall officials ought to answer is how the additional money collected will be utilised to improve services.

No one would question the logic of increasing the rates where the revenue collected is used prudently.

But, in an environment where corruption is rife and wastage of resources is rampant, one begins to raise queries on the wisdom of raising the rates without first addressing accountability challenges.

Evidence of imprudent use of resources is found everywhere you look in Nairobi. Despite collecting billions of shillings, service delivery by City Hall remains wanting. Roads in many estates are in dire condition, water shortage is persistent, heaps of garbage lie uncollected and burst sewer lines take too long to be fixed.

You do not need to throw more money on these issues to resolve them. The current rot in Nairobi calls for better management of the resources available, not collecting more. Without fixing the loopholes through which the resources are lost or embezzled, City Hall runs the risk of having more finances to waste and misuse, while services remain poor.

The county government officials should, therefore, come up with strategies for better management of the resources they have and efficiently deal with the challenges Nairobians are facing instead of increasing their financial burden.