House moots law to regulate prices of land

Land Value Index Law Bill already passed by National Assembly is currently before the Senate for concurrence

Parliament is mulling a raft of law changes to woo investors, including regulating the price of land across the country.

The Land Value Index Law Bill has already been passed by the National Assembly and is before the Senate for concurrence.

Finance and National Planning Committee of the National Assembly chairperson Joseph Limo said if enacted, the new law would give the State powers to regulate the price of land in different localities. High land cost has been named as an impediment to foreign investors.

Valuation of freehold land and community land for purposes of compensation under the law shall be based on the land value index developed jointly by the National and County governments.

In addition to any other principle used to calculate the land value index, the declared value of the land for purposes of payment of rates, rents or stamp duty shall be taken into account. In assessing the value of freehold land and determining compensation, an increase in the value shall be disregarded if the increase in the potential value of land is occasioned by the intended use or development of the land to be acquired.

Also, increase in the actual value of the land as at the date of publication of the notice of intention to acquire is likely to accrue from the use to which the land will be put when acquired. The increase in the apparent value of the land is occasioned by any development or improvement to the land.

Limo (Kipkelion East) says Parliament may introduce more changes to make the country more investor-friendly.

Reduce tenure

The Act also toys with the idea of reducing the tenure of a sitting president to one term of seven years.

“By doing so, the country will address the issue of the uncertainties brought about by presidential elections, which drags for months and at times results in chaos, thus scaring away investors,” said Limo.

Limo says the impediments that deter investors from moving into the country, include uncertainty caused by elections, cost of energy, absence of regulation of land prices and a powerful labour movement which determines when to evaluate salaries and by how much.

He spoke of the planned changes during the fourth Speakers Round Table of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) and the National Assembly.

“We as a committee discussed with foreign investors who cite reasons that keep them out of Kenya and move to more liberal countries such as Ethiopia and Rwanda.

To address the biting problem of the inflated energy cost, Parliament will move to have all parastatals, which control the energy sector, lumped into one powerful agency to reduce cost. Among the parastatals to be affected include the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), Geothermal Development Corporation (GDC), Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) and the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen).

Meanwhile, employers attending the conference cited corruption, tax rates, and tax regulations as factors that hindered investment, and which are also the main impediments to revenue growth.

Kepsa Chief executive Carole Kariuki, said improving governance and controlling corruption to the bare minimum could increase income per capita by 400 per cent. Kariuki said the key interventions to tackle economic crimes include, intensifying the war on corruption and other economic crimes, and strengthen law enforcement, prosecutorial and criminal justice action.

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