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Economy

Surveyors fault new land compensation rules, call for review

Road under construction
Road under construction. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Surveyors have faulted the new land compensation rules, asking for urgent revision just month after President Uhuru Kenyatta endorsed them.

Among the changes contained in the land value amendment Act 2019 is that the State will now take at least one year to process payment for land acquired for public projects.

The Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (ISK) says the duration for processing compensation “is too long and it will inconvenient the affected parties.”

“The government operates on a budget and has a systematic way of handling things, therefore the compensation should be made immediately as they acquire the land to allow the affected to settle in other areas,” said ISK president Abraham Samoei.

The changes in the land value Act have also attempted to streamline land rates, rent, stamp duty and compensation processes to ease the acquisition and access to private land for the implementation of public infrastructure projects.

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While land values automatically appreciate the moment the State announces investment in public infrastructure in the vicinity, the law has been hanged to tame speculators – mainly connected individuals with insider information - who normally acquire land just before the announcement is made. According to the land value amendment Act 2019 signed into law by President Kenyatta on August 2, only the parcel owners who have occupied their land for more than two years prior to the date of acquisition can be compensated at enhanced values.

The law allows the State to choose whether to pay for compulsorily acquired land by cash, government bond, stake in the public project or by allocating an alternative piece of land in the locality. Surveyors have dismissed the changes saying the drafters of the Act failed to factor in value dynamics.

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