The county government is set to slap higher land rates on multinational tea companies.
“For a long time, the land rates had been set at the minimal Sh22 per acre per year. However, we revised it upwards to Sh94 per acre per year. We now require a new evaluation mechanism in which the value of land, in terms of renting, is based on the current market land rates,” Governor Paul Chepkwony said yesterday.
The governor, who spoke during the swearing in of the new county lands minister, Mr Barnabas Ngeno, said the county needs the new revenue to fund development.
“If the multinational tea companies pay the market rates, Kericho will no longer rely on revenue from the national government. The money will take the county back to its status of the 1960s, where it funded the national government and even lent money to Zanzibar,” said Chepkwony.
At the same time, the governor asked Ngeno to immediately compile a report on all land leased to multinational companies to facilitate the implementation of the new rates.
“The public must know how many years are remaining on the leases being held by Unilever Tea Kenya Ltd and James Finlay, among other multinational tea companies in this county,” said Chepkwony.