Nairobi County collects Sh168bn in building plans as audit targets 50,000 more

KENYA: Nairobi County has registered about Sh10 billion increase (5.98 percent) in earnings from approved building plans in the last nine months totaling to Sh168 billion compared to the same period in 2014/2015.

According to data released by the county's city planning Department, September posted the highest value in 2015 at Sh23.54 billion; seven percent higher than Sh22b worth of plans cleared in September, 2014.

This was also only second to Sh23.71 billion, in October 2014, over the last years

The statistics further show that the value of approvals for residential property increased by 14.11 per cent to Sh104 billion in the nine-month period to September 30, from Sh100 billion last year.

There was, however, a four per cent drop in the value of plans for development of non- residential blocks- main offices, shopping malls and warehouses which dropped to Sh65 billion from Sh68 67.74 billion.

Governor Evans Kidero noted of the sector's growth deceleration to 9.9 per cent in the April- June period from 16.6 per cent in 2015 which pulled down overall economic growth to 5.5 from six per cent according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

This, he said made the county lay foundation to audit and vet constructions to enhance order to benefit fully.

The exercise anchored in the Regularization of Developments Bill gives developers who have built homes without approvals six months to seek fresh permits or have them demolished.

"A home that has not been approved will be evaluated whether it meets habitable conditions including structural integrity. Consequently, if you bought land and subdivided it and was never approved, you have to bring settlement plan to check if it meets certain basic planning conditions for roads, drainage, way-leaves, open spaces, street lighting," said Kidero.

Kidero said there are more than 50,000 buildings mainly in Eastlands that have not been approved: "Majority of the owners bought land from land-buying companies that issued share certificates as proof of ownership. But is a requirement for prospective developers to own a title deed before their plans are approved and a development plan issued."

He said the county is working with Ardhi House to fast track issuance of titles to genuine owners with the process of regularizing city structures focused on focused on Lucky Summer in Pipeline area and Lumumba Drive Estate in Roysambu.

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