By RUSHDIE OUDIA
Kisumu County: Real estate agents and developers in Kisumu have cried foul over a 100 per cent increment on rates the county government has imposed on the industry.
The investors are to pay the rates following a decision by the County Assembly to pass its 2013/2017 Finance Bill.
The county government also slapped a 100 per cent increment on most construction work charges. They asked the county government to revert the rates, which would affect development.
In the Bill, the minimum architectural charge for buildings below 46 square metres rose from Sh1,800 to Sh3,600. The highest, 867 square metres but not exceeding 930 square metres, rose from Sh14,000 to Sh28,000.
Minimum charges for structural fees for residential housing doubled from Sh1,200 to Sh2,400 while the highest charge shot up to Sh36,000 from Sh13,000.
Occupation certificate fees were also doubled while the old rate for renewal of the certificates was retained. The double rates will lead to high cost of housing meant for commercial or residential purposes.
Kisumu Real Estates Director Wycliffe Abok said the county had made some milestones in development and increasing rates would only burden prospective investors more.
Abok said tenants of residential houses make up the largest number of clients in the construction industry and that they were likely to feel the pinch more.
“The county government should tone down bureaucracy and bring down the rates to attract investors,” said Abok, adding that the county can also develop if investors are given incentives. Real estate and property dealers have condemned the rise in construction rates.
Opande Africa Investments Limited Director Ken Opande said it will be difficult for them yet they had hopes that Kisumu would be a better place to invest in.
He said this should not have happened at a time when they are grappling with the problem of fake title deeds and exaggerated costs of properties.
“Kisumu has attracted many foreign investors but it won’t develop any faster if the rates are that high,” said Opande.
Franklin Awuor, a director from Westlink Properties, said the doubling of rates would affect their business and lead to slow growth.
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“We would not wish to hike rates but that will be inevitable now,” said Awuor, adding that Kisumu has recently experienced massive expansion, especially in areas like Riat Hill and Mamboleo.