The Nairobi County government loses Sh91 million monthly revenue due to inefficiencies in its system for buildings approvals, property experts have said.
The Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) and Kenya Property Developers Association (KPDA) singled out the capital city as one of the most notorious counties in delaying construction permits, warning that this was hurting both the economy.
AAK President Mugure Njendu also decried the slow issuance of the e-permits, noting that only four counties have since 2011 automated their construction permit procedures.
They include Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Kiambu. The e-permitting system in Nairobi County has been rocked with disruptions and downtimes for 45 days since July. “It is worth noting that the county has experienced a decrease in revenue collection in the first half of the year, as compared to 2018.
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It is imperative that the system is regularised to avoid further decline,” said Ms Njendu. She said it sometimes took even two years to acquire a permit, with similar cases observed in Kisumu, Kiambu, and Mombasa.
In Kiambu, it takes 20 to 30 days for developers to obtain various permits. It takes up to three months for developers in Nairobi and Mombasa to get the nod for their structures.
“According to our survey, a developer takes an average of 41.5 days to obtain an approval, which is one of the highest in the world," she said. “In Nairobi, such systems have effectively collapsed leading to further delays in approvals. This has forced some developers to incur more expenses to ‘facilitate’ the processing,” said AAK President.
Ms Mugure said that best practices recommend a week to a fortnight for such approvals to be obtained. KPDA Director for Public Policy and Advocacy Gikonyo Gitonga called on the State to reform construction permits issuance noting that delays scare away developers.
Recent Knight Frank survey found that the value of approvals in Nairobi dipped 19.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 to Sh48.54 billion from Sh60.11 billion last year.