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Land Commission seeks own revenue to shore up budget

By Peter Theuri | January 21st 2021 at 10:00:00 GMT +0300

Lands Cabinet Secretary Farida Karoney peruses documents during a past visit to the Machakos lands offices. The commission has cited "technology-resistance" in the land sector as a key challenge in reforming the sector. [John Muia, Standard]

In a bid to bridge an ever-widening budget deficit, the National Land Commission (NLC) has set sight on raising its internally generated funds in its new strategic plan.

The commission has perennially complained of underfunding from the Exchequer, with its gross expenditure (recurrent and development) estimates put at Sh1.233 billion in the 2019/2020 financial year.

This constitutes approximately 36 per cent of the commission’s budgetary estimates.

“The Commission continues to receive inadequate budgetary allocations despite the critical role it plays in facilitating the national development agenda,” says NLC in its 2020-2025 Draft Strategic Plan. 

“Noteworthy, the commission’s average absorption rate has been maintained at 95 per cent over the last six years.”

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It is expected that the commission’s budgetary deficit can only widen going forward, making the need for it to explore new ways of funding its operations more pressing.  

“The financial requirements for the planning period are expected to grow marginally over the first three years from Sh3.448 billion to Sh5.132 billion and reduce to Sh3.594 billion by the last year,” said the commission. “KRA 1 —Key result area 1 — which is management and administration of public land, has the highest financial resource requirement as it combines a number of commission’s mandates. KRA 5 (Institutional strengthening) has the second-highest financial resource requirement for the fact that it is expected to provide an enabling environment for the achievement of the other four KRAs.”

The other key result areas, expected to gobble up significantly less money, are the use of land and security of land rights, revenue generation from land and land-based resources as well as land dispute resolution and conflict management.

In the face of the underfunding, according to the strategic plan, NLC wants to improve resource-mobilisation. It will also engage the relevant stakeholders and forge partnerships to plug in the deficits.

The commission was established as an independent commission under article 67 (1) of the 2010 Constitution to, amongst other things, manage and administer public land on behalf of the national and county governments.

It is also charged with investigating present or historical land injustices and recommend appropriate redress, monitor, and have oversight responsibilities over land use planning throughout the country.

The commission was operationalised by the National Land Commission Act of 2012.

Besides funding constraints, according to the draft strategic plan, the commission has also faced “political interference and lack of political goodwill.” 

NLC said a backlog of unresolved court cases inherited by the commission from its predecessor, the Commissioner of Lands, has also led to delays in service delivery.

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NLC National Land Commission
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