Lands Principal Secretary Ms Mariam El-Maawy has asked private and public developers to start investing in marginalized localities of the country in order to spur economic growth across the country. Ms El-Maawy reiterated that investment is currently driven by diminishing available land resulting in stiff competing interests among people on the same piece of land.
”Right now, investment is driven where we are having diminishing available land and having diminishing land against an increasing population, it is unlikely that the land cost will not go up,” she said.
The PS was speaking during the 14th Kenya Economic Update Edition Launch dubbed ‘Beyond Resilience, Increasing Productivity of Public Investments’. Ms El-Maawy said the opening up of Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPPSET) corridor is significant in establishing a second phase of investment in Kenya.
The PS said that with the introduction of devolution, there will be a reduction in land interests in urbanized areas like Nairobi. “It is very important for us to package our land use in areas where the cost of land is not going to be inhibitive. Let us not pretend that the cost of land in urban areas will go lower,” El-Maawy explained.
She said the Lands ministry has introduced far-reaching reforms, among them amendment to the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act, which will address the issues relating to compensation, disputes and mechanisms of handling land matters that will make access to land affordable.
World Bank Country Director for Kenya Diarietou Gaye said most of the Bank’s investment in the country is facing issues on land acquisition and resettlement, which he noted has delayed the progress of the projects, thereby scaling up the costs.
”The minute you delay a project two or three years, any cost analysis you have done before is not valid, as it causes cost escalation,” the Country Director added.
She called on the government to put in place measures that increase investment efficiency and cost reduction.
Her remarks follow a World Bank Report released today which has established that measures to improve public land management need to be enhanced.
The finding recommends the introduction of parallel reform of the legislative and regulatory framework to govern land acquisition and involuntary resettlement completion, alongside a comprehensive public land inventory which should be prepared and periodically updated.
It says that reforms should focus on crafting a single policy or legislative Act on compulsory land acquisition, including livelihood restoration of the displaced persons.