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Kericho now reviews land rates upwards from Sh284 to Sh2,000

RIFT VALLEY
By Nikko Tanui | September 10th 2021

 

A Tea plantation farm in Kericho County [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Landowners will pay more in annual land rates after ward representatives unanimously approved the County Valuation Roll 2020 Bill.

The proposed law that is now awaiting Governor Paul Chepwony’s assent, increases the rates per acre from Sh284 to Sh2,000 annually.

The move is likely to rattle multinational tea companies that have leased some 800,000 acres of land for 99 years.

For the past nine years, Chepkwony’s administration has faced stiff resistance from landowners in his attempt to increase the land rates. During the debate and passage of the bill, the increment that would affect both public and private landowners is aimed at increasing the county’s revenue to enable it to meet its obligations.

The sitting that was chaired by Speaker Dominic Rono saw members endorse the law that will tremendously change the management of land as defined by the Land Act No 6 of 2012 guided by the Rating Act Cap 267 and the valuation for Rating Act Cap 266.

County Executive in charge of land Barnabas Ng'eno said the move would allow him to gazette the new land rates after the governor’s assent.

“We originally wanted to hike the land rates to Sh10,000 per acre of land but the tea firms argued that it would affect their cost of production and doing business.

“We negotiated and the revised land rates as indicated in the passed legislation. The figures will be officially communicated in the Kenya Gazette,” he said.

Under section 7(1) of the valuation Act, Cap 266 comprises, the law will affect all registered freehold, tenant for life in terms of reversion of a lease, lessee of a registered lease for at least 25 years or identifiable period, lessee of the government land even if the term is less than 25 years.

It also includes the lessee of property in any district where Land Act 2012 applies or which would receive the rent if the land was leased.

Ng'eno said owners of commercial plots in Kericho’s Central Business District (CBD) will be charged one per cent of the land value, other commercial plots (0.8 per cent), high residential plots (0.8 per cent), single dwelling residential plots (0.6 per cent), heavy industrial plots (one per cent), and light industrial plots (0.7 per cent)

Hospitals, learning institutions, stadiums, parks, museums, libraries, places of worship, and cemeteries will be exempted from paying land rates

Ng'eno said county from time to time and at any time cause a valuation to be made as at the time of valuation of; any rateable property omitted from the main valuation roll or any new rate-able property.

“It also includes, any rate-able property which is subdivided or consolidated with other rate-able property or any rate-able property arising since the time of valuation, has materially increased or decreased in value, and include such valuation in supplementary Valuation Roll,” he said.

Ngeno added that the Ministry of Lands will be required to declare the county government of Kericho a rating authority as contemplated under the Valuation for Rating Act Cap 266.

Property base taxes have been a major source of revenue for county authorities since the advent of modern government structures. 

Land taxation of rating was introduced in the country in 1901 and firmly institutionalized through the establishment of the Nairobi (Rating of Improved Site Value) ordinance in 1921. 

However, the enactment of the Constitution in 2010 provided a new legislative framework to assess and levy rates and land-based taxes.

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