County governments have been urged to involve real estate stakeholders when formulating policies that affect the industry. This appeal has been made by Olive Director Peter Gitau, who says that counties are not keen to ensure public participation in the process and they may end up formulating punitive policies.
“As stakeholders, we are always on the ground. We can feel the effect of some of the taxes and rates being introduced by county governments. Some of these policies may go against the bill of rights of land ownership, or better still they could be a threat to entrepreneurship,” Gitau said in a recent interview with media.
His sentiments came in the wake of the recent launch of a 10-year spatial plan by the county government of Kajiado which is aimed at helping manage its on-going land-sector reforms. The new plan now limits land owners from subdividing the usual 50*100 plots.
Speaking during the launch of the plan, Kajiado Governor Joseph Olelenku said that the county was growing at a rate of 5.5 percent in population because it contributes significantly to accommodating population growth within the city.
Accordding to the governor, Kajiado county has for years been threatened by forces of the land transformation having in the recent times witnessed increased human wildlife conflicts that has led to loss of livestock, wildlife and humans.
“through this program, our urban areas will receive additional resources from the county government kit to complement the funding received from development partners,” he explains.
But Gitau holds a different view for how effective the spatial plans can be without the involvement of real estate stakeholders. “We have seen even in terms of approvals of houses and plans moving from analogue to digital but it ends up being confusing. The architectural Association for example is raising various issues with Nairobi County because the approvals are not being done digitally. There are as pending approvals as from last November,” he reveals.
The real estate sector is huge contributor to job creation in the country and according to Gitau, the delayed approvals means that the economy may suffer because billions of shillings that would be circulating in the construction industry and creating opportunities is now stagnant.
Although Gitau does not oppose the creation of spatial plans, he calls on the county government within the Nairobi Metropolitan to consider the views of the consumers of the plans to make it even better. Counties in the metropolitan area include Kajiado, Kiambu, Machakos, Muranga and Nakuru.