CS Jacob Kaimenyi lifts ban on land lease renewals

The moratorium was lifted last Friday through a gazette notice signed by Lands Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi.

Last December, the government stopped renewal of leases after widespread cases of grabbing and forceful acquisition of property from people whose leases were expiring.

The government has lifted a suspension it had slapped on renewal of land leases after an outcry from property developers.

Speaking to journalists in his office on Thursday, Prof Kaimenyi said the guidelines would not stand in the way of recommendations expected to be made by a task force on land leases chaired by Mr Ibrahim Mwathane, an expert on land matters. Mr Mwathane’s taskforce is investigating all leases issued from 2010.

OFFERING LOANS

The guidelines came after financial institutions started shying away from offering loans to those who offer leasehold property as security.

“As a result of stoppage of processing of extension and renewal of leases, leasehold property owners have experienced challenges when they seek to redevelop their properties as they require leases to secure funds from financial institutions. This has seriously affected financial institutions holding existing charges on properties whose leases have expired or are about to,” said Prof Kaimenyi.

This has impacted negatively on the economy as witnessed by a reduction in land transactions redevelopment of land and decrease in revenue collection, he added.

The task force’s recommendations will be added to the new guidelines, the CS said.

WAS NECESSARY

A source in the ministry told the Nation that the lifting of the ban was necessary because real estate firms were shedding jobs as result of the moratorium.

Prof Kaimenyi, who was flanked by Lands Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri and National Land Commission Chairman Mahamed Swazuri, said the new guidelines are meant to make land transactions transparent.

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