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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya accelerating enactment of land acquisition law: official

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya is fast tracking the enactment of a compulsory land acquisition law in order to control costs at which government acquires land for public projects, a senior official said on Tuesday.

Cabinet Secretary for Lands Jacob Kaimenyi told a business forum in Nairobi that a number of national projects are slowing down due to high cost of land.

“The current law does not empower government to acquire land at fair prices and this is affecting the pace of implementation of projects that require huge tracts of land,” Kaimenyi said during the launch of the World Bank Group’s Doing Business in Kenya 2016 report.

Kaimenyi said land speculators tend to buy land in places where national projects are about to take place.

“They then demand exorbitant prices for the land which the government cannot afford,” he said.

A draft bill has already been developed where stakeholders have given their input.

“It is currently before cabinet for approval. We hope to present it to parliament in the next two months for debate so that it is endorsed as soon as possible,” Kaimenyi said.

The bill proposes to provide alternative means for government to pay land owners when their land is compulsorily acquired for implementation of national projects.

“Land owners will be offered land in other areas or other assets in exchange for land,” the CS said.

The proposed law will also regulate valuation of land in order to prevent land speculators from profiteering from mega projects.

           

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