Governor Hassan Joho seeks Senate help on land rates
4 months ago, 7 Aug 21:59
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has sought the Senate's intervention to ensure that State agencies in the county pay land rates, and that the sanctity of title deeds be respected.
Mr Joho, who appeared before the Senate’s County Public Accounts and Investment Committee on Tuesday, said land invasion is a major problem at the Coast and asked the Senate to take up the matter to save land owners.
He revealed that Mombasa has uncollected land rates amounting to Sh28 billion, which his administration has a challenge collecting since most defaulters are State agencies.
“Seventy per cent of this money is owed by the national government, which is not paying," he told the committee chaired by Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’.
He said his administration has sent demand letters, to no avail, but added that it is discussing how the money can be paid with the national government.
NEW LAND SUBDIVISIONS
“We hope that the issue will be addressed and the money paid because we need it,” he said.
According to the auditor-general, the valuation roll used to bill plot owners was not updated with new land subdivisions, while more than 4,000 plots were registered in the names of people who could not be identified.
Besides, the outstanding rates of Sh45.9 billion as at June 2015 include penalties amounting to Sh39.4 million, which are not included in the financial statement for the 2014/2015 financial year.
On the question of land invasion, the governor said there was nothing the county could do.
“We can’t instruct the police to stop such invasions. We have talked to the county commissioners, and that is where our mandate ends,” we cannot enforce anything,” he said.
He asked the Senate to review the formula of sharing revenue among the 47 counties, arguing that it doesn’t take into consideration the fact that delivering services in the county cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu is significantly higher than that of rural counties.
He proposed an amendment to the formula to include a conditional grant to help the counties tackle the problem.
“We have a huge influx of people who come to work in Mombasa every day, which is not factored in the existing formula, and we need special consideration in the allocations to ensure that we offer services efficiently,” Mr said.
“People come to these cities because there are opportunities and better facilities. This has raised the cost of rendering services. We need special consideration,” he said.
His views were echoed by Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi, who said his county has also suffered because of its huge population, which is attributable to its close proximity to Nairobi.
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