Land disputes slow Northern Corridor project

The conflict between corporate and land laws among East African Community (EAC) countries has been cited as the main barrier to the implementation of the Northern Corridor Integration Project (NCIP).

Several initiatives are said to have stalled as a result, especially those that require land owners to be compensated and relocated.

“The bureaucracy in political administration in the creation of these laws has stalled important projects. This may cause governments to be slapped with penalties on their loans, in addition to EAC member countries losing tax revenue,” the chairman of the East Africa Business Council, Denis Karera, said.

He added that corporate laws should be harmonised to equalise the regional playing field for economic growth, particularly among manufacturers.

“This way, when agreements are made, there will be fewer confrontations as there will be healthy competition between foreign and local companies.”

Fake titles

Mr Karera, speaking at a private sector stakeholders’ forum in Nairobi on the NCIP, further noted the difference in land acquisition laws as a major stumbling block.

“Land is yet to be provided for many projects, despite their being approved. This is mostly due to compensation conflicts, which we urge governments to engage communities on.”

For instance, in August, Nairobi County filed a petition seeking to stop payment of Sh2.5 billion in compensation for land earmarked for the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway. The county claimed fraudsters were out to fleece the county using fake title deeds for parcels of land located along the Embakasi Township Reserve.

In Uganda, the commissioning of a Sh5.7 billion Tororo-Lira 132kV high voltage transmission project was delayed as a result of grievances over valuation and compensation packages for 4,414 affected persons.

“Streamlining the laws governing NCIP sectors will not only resolve the loopholes, but also expose new opportunities for development,” added Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) CEO Carole Kariuki.

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