Kenya is in the process of establishing a land bank to serve as a one-stop shop for investors seeking to obtain public land for public/private development partnerships.
Lands Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri said the process has been marked as urgent and is billed as the solution that will cut the time it takes for government to issue land to public/private pacts.
He further said his ministry’s agenda is to hasten housing development through fast tracking processes of title deeds, developing infrastructure in low income neighbourhoods opening up land for housing development alongside inviting the private developers to partner with the government through private public partnership.
To harmonise the situation, Dr Muraguri said his ministry is partnering with the National Lands Commission (NLC) and all ministries that are custodians of public land to establish an updated land data bank.
Muraguri said a number of public institutions hold more land than they require.
He cited the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, Kenya Railways, Portland Cement, Numerical Machining Complex, the International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya Prisons, universities and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock as some institutions that have vast tracts of land under them.
Muraguri said county governments do not also know for sure which lands within their jurisdiction are under their management, thus creating conflict between the central government and the devolved units when it comes to acquiring land for development.
In that light, the PS said a task force will be mandated to start the process by executing an institutional land audit and limit ownership to the necessary bare minimum based on land use guidelines.
NLC member Esther Murugi says the joint cooperation will facilitate carrying out of a sensitisation programme to relevant government departments since “land banking is not a familiar concept to land administrators and managers of public land, whether at national or county level”.
She called on the Lands ministry to preside over legislation to guide the process of acquiring land considering that purchased land may have to be released to investors at attractive rates.
Council of Governors’ Deputy Chair Mwangi wa Iria said the move will be supported by all governors.