CS Ngilu assures investors that the Law will protect their land interests in the country
September 29, 2014, Nairobi : The Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Lands, Urban Housing and Urban Development today (September 29) assured foreign investors in the country that Article 65 of the Constitution will not impact negatively on their land ownership once their leases run out, a top official of Kenya Association of Manufacturers has said. There had been a concern by the investors has been the stipulation that non citizens can only hold land leases with tenure of 99 year. The assurance came during a meeting held today after the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) paid her a courtesy call. are therefore concerned whether these parcels of land qualify for automatic renewal after expiry.
Section 13 of the Land Act 2012, states that upon expiry of the lease land shall be offered to the immediate past holder if the land is not required by the national or county government. Mrs. Ngilu explained that land should not be held for speculation purposes and would only be repossessed if it was not being put to use. She also clarified that the Chief Land Registrar will now sign leases and that the County government cannot register titles, they can only give land for use implying that the national government would have a role to play in the transfer of land upon the expiry of a lease. She further promised to safeguard the interests of investors with regard to land. “We are going through some changes and will work on amendments to the laws which are inconsistent with the Constitution. They were passed in a hurry because there was a deadline but we have now put a team together to do these amendments,” she said.
The Cabinet Secretary also said that the ministry had developed an automated system of printing leases and they are currently keying them in into the system and verifying their authenticity.. About 17,000 leases are pending and should be done within the next 3 months. Companies that have done subdivisions and developed properties that they now want to dispose will soon be able to do this as the process is almost complete. The ministry has also put in place a system to allow Kenyans to do a search online.
The manufacturers also asked her to look into the system of paying land raters as they are not able to get confirmations of payment and also to look into the problem of zoning as there were difficulties. “Conflict is arising from a lack of respect of zoning and there are many invasions of land originally set aside for manufacturing purposes,” said Ms. Betty Maina, the CEO of KAM calling for a solution that would not force evictions.
She cited quarry factories off mlolongo that had to be relocated due to residential settlements which conflict with quarrying activities and factories in Athi River area which spill over to Kitengela, a densely populated residential area. Similar situations exist at the coast and especially where there are salt mining activities.
Mrs. Ngilu called for proper physical planning and said that there was need for the ministry to identify and designate land which can be used for manufacturing and other important sectors in order to be in a position to advise government at all levels. Banks which had been set aside has been depleted since the 1990s and current land banks are being converted for other purposes through the change of user process.
Mombasa Stakeholders attended a meeting on Friday to discuss the 2014 - 2015 Mombasa Finance Bill. The forum was held at the Kenya School of Government on Friday, 26th September. Among the stakeholders were manufacturers and members of KAM who in the past have been adversely affected by the Finance Bill and have been petitioning the Governor of the County to institute levies and charges after consulting with the business sector.
Other County Bills under review include
- The Kwale County Finance Bill, 2014
- The Business Licensing Bill, 2014
- The Kwale County Agriculture Cost Sharing Bill, 2014
- The Kwale County Animal Diseases Bill, 2014
- The Kwale County Charges under Meat Control Bill, 2014; and
- The Kilifi Finance Bill, 2014
The national draft climate change framework policy and bill were today validated in a conference at KICC. The forum was led by Dr. Richard Lesiyampe, the Permanent Secretary, State Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Climate change is increasingly becoming a concern in the country and adaptation and mitigation measures need to be adopted in order to reverse the effects of this phenomenon. Various sectors in the country will be severely affected if climate change is allowed to run its course without any interventions. The Agricultural sector in particular had come under threat and if allowed to continue unabated, the phenomenon would affect the country's economic base and also affect manufacturing activities. "Engaging environmental initiatives is no longer a philanthropic venture but an investment opportunity," said Dr. Lesimpaye as he lauded the role played by the Private sector in drawing up both the bill and policy. He pointed out that Climate change and called for technological change to counteract the effects of the change.
Counteractive measures cannot be adopted without a legal and policy framework making it necessary to come up with a national climate change policy and bill for more coordinated and streamlined efforts. Martha Cheruto, EO, Energy was the Vice Chair of the national task force charged with drawing up the policy and bill.
Climate change is as a result of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere which heat up the earth beyond normal levels. Due to the small size of them manufacturing sector, emissions from the local industrial sector are still low and is estimated at 0.3 MtCO2e annually. However projections show that this emissions could increase to considerably by the year 2030 especially if the industrialisation plans outlined in Vision 2030 are achieved.
Manufacturers will be affected once the bill and policy are adopted because the government will tax production practices unfriendly to the environment and need to be on look out for issues related to aspects in the legal framework such as the polluter pays stipulation.
County Government Focuses on Infrastructure Improvement
The County Government of Uasin Gishu has recently focused on developing and improving infrastructure within the County. On roads, over 900km of roads have been graded and murraming is being done. The roads in focus include; improvement of link roads that join the main highway. Completion of the Kapsoya road will also ease traffic congestion along the highway and the CBD. There has also been on-going improvement of street lighting and drainage works in Eldoret town alongside tendered for tarmacking of major streets in Eldoret town (64 St, Muliro and Gen. Kago). Furthermore the County Government has embarked on development of walkways for pedestrians along Iten Road and Uganda Road.
Apart from this, development of a new fire station has been tendered at Maili Nne to enhance rapid response by fire and the disaster management team within the region. The County has also focused on increased capacity in roads and survey divisions for efficient delivery of service.
Update on EAC - EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Negotiations
An emergency Extra-ordinary Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (SCTIFI) was held on 9 – 10 September 2014 in Arusha to consider the way forward on the EAC-EU EPA negotiations in view of the issues that remain outstanding and the deadline of the EU Market Access Regulation 1528/2007 on 1st October 2014.
The meeting was attended by Senior Officials and Ministers from EAC Partner States with the exception of the Republic of Burundi and the United Republic of Tanzania, who informed the Secretariat that they were unable to attend due to the short notice for convening the meeting. In line with the EAC Rules of Procedure, the meeting proceeded on a consultative basis, and the outcome will be submitted to the Republic of Burundi and the United Republic of Tanzania for their comments.
The discussions focused on the outstanding issues, after no agreement was reached by EAC and EU in the Kigali meeting.
The Ministerial meeting reached a consensus on all the five areas below where EAC and the EU have had divergence for a very long time:
1. Duties and Taxes on Exports
2. Domestic Policy Measures
3. Relations to Cotonou Agreement
4. Good Governance in Taxes
5. Consequences from other Custom Union Agreement concluded with EU
A road map for conclusion and initialing the EPA by 30th September 2014 was also agreed upon. It is due for consideration to the EAC full Council meeting scheduled to take place between 15th and 20th September 2014.
Given this status KAM would like to clarify that:
· Initialing of the EPA by 30 September 2014 will play a key role in the reintegration of Kenya and other EAC Partner States in the Market Access Regulation (MAR) 1528 of December 2007.
· The Government is working round the clock to have Kenya and other EAC Partner States reinstated in the MAR on the basis of the initialed EPA. If this effort bares fruits before 30th September 2014, Kenya will continue exporting to the EU market on duty free basis.
· If current efforts by the Government fail to have Kenya reintegrated by 30th September 2014, it means that Kenya will start trading with the EU on GSP basis with effect from 1st October 2014, where most of Kenyan products will start attracting import tariff.
· The period under Kenya will continue trading under GSP, if the effort for reintegration into MAR by 30 September fails will be very short. Assuming that the EPA is initialed by 30th September, it is estimated that it will take 8 to 12 weeks to have Kenya and other EAC countries reintegrated to MAR through an EU process of MAR amendment. It is therefore important that the EPA be initialed by 30th September to ensure that the GSP trading arrangement lasts the shortest time possible.
Regions Plan Investor Forum
Investment in value addition, logistics and storage for agricultural produce tops the Agenda as western Kenya Counties prepare for a symposium of farmers, financiers and investors. Sixteen county governments keen on attracting the bulging young population to farming will attend the meeting, which will be held at Kisumu’s Tom Mboya labour college from September 24 to September 27. More than 500 delegates from the public and private sectors are expected to attend. The symposium will seek ways of engaging counties and the national government to promote Agricultural focused policies.
The forum is expected to push for public private partnerships and investment in areas that will boost incomes of millions of small scale farmers who are the bulk of the regions poor. “The Western Kenya Agribusiness Exchange will, among other things, facilitate structuring of joint initiatives, including public private partnerships and external financing”, planners said.
Kisumu, Siaya, Homa bay, Kisii, Nyamira, Migori, Busia, Kericho and Nandi which have been working on how to ease trade in agricultural commodities, are among the counties that will participate. Under the theme, “Unlocking Agribusiness Potential of Lake Victoria Trading Bloc”, the symposium seeks to explore financing models for value chains, review policies to boost commercial farming and open regional markets for farm produce.
The participants include agro based companies, logistic firms, banks, insurers, private equity funds, Universities, county officials and civil society organizations. Firms from India, China, Latin America and the US have been invited to showcase agribusiness innovation that suit local conditions.
The Lake Victoria Trading bloc is a market for more than 120 million people living in 16 Counties in Kenya and bordering parts of Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and South Sudan. The majority of the regions’ population depends on natural resources and subsistence agriculture for livelihood. The bloc hopes to encourage the regions to specialize on their strong areas and open markets for each other’s produce. Through partnership with governments, it hopes to boost access to input and more resources for irrigation, climate change mitigation and other needs.
A working Group comprised of a cross section of stakeholders drawn from all sectors is currently validating the Illicit Trade Manual for Prosecutors in Naivasha in a two day workshop. The meeting is being chaired by Hon. Abdulqadir Lorot, a Senior Principal Magistrate at the Judiciary and a member of the NCAJ technical working group. The Illicit Trade Manual for prosecutors has been as a result of recent alignments in the judiciary where with the adoption of Court Users Committees, justice is no longer the preserve of the judiciary but rather seen a chain issue. Representatives from government ministries and agencies involved in any way with the law and regulation are attending the meeting. KAM has been playing a coordinating role since the inception of the process as local manufacturers are severely affect by the issues of trade in Illicit goods and are usually the victims.
This is the second validation meeting before the manual is presented to the Judiciary and published.
UASIN GISHU CHAPTER AND SURROUNDING REGIONS NEWSLETTER
Elgeyo Marakwet County Plans To Focus On Value Addition Industries
The importance of industrialization and value addition on produce cannot be over-emphasized. Over the years there has been a demand for value addition to farm produce in order for the farm produce to attract better prices in markets. Since the county’s major economic activity is agricultural production, development of agro-based industries that would boost the residents’ income from farming is vital. The need for value addition is not only confined to the agricultural production but also in other sectors such as tourism and mining whose products would fetch more returns in improved forms.
According to Ann Kibosia, the CEC, Trade, Tourism and Industry there is need to build the capacity of the people so as to focus on value addition industries. “With the devolved system of government and establishment of Counties, there is need to encourage people on value addition so as to increase returns and improve livelihoods,” said Kibosia.
Industrial investment in the county has been relatively low not withstanding the increased farm production from irrigated farming that has created huge potential for fruits and vegetable extraction industries in addition to opportunities of abattoir industries along the Valley offered by the successful livestock activities at the county. In striving to achieve value addition demands in the county, the Elgeyo Marakwet County plans to focus on; construction of potato processing plants, milk processing plants, integrated fruit processing plant, coffee milling plant, tea factory, an abattoir, fish processing industry, sub ginnery for cotton processing among other value addition industries.
Chapter holds forum on tertiary education
KAM Nakuru chapter recently held a stakeholders forum on tertiary education at the Rift Valley Sports Club. The forum themed “bridging the gap between school and the workplace,” was aimed at finding solutions to the perennial problem of skills gap in the Kenyan job market with a view to making Kenyan graduates job ready. The meeting was attended by representatives of key institutions of higher learning in Nakuru County, various employers and the County minister of education.
Speaking during the meeting KAM Nakuru Chapter chairman Rajen Shah lamented the skills mismatch in the Kenyan job market and stressed the need for concerted effort in addressing the problem.
“There is a disconnect between what if offered in our institutions and the real market needs. Education institutions are not training adequately for the job market a situation that forces most employers to spend lots of time and resources retraining staff to meet workplace demands. There is also need to impart life skills in our young people to make them job ready,” he said.
Addressing participants during the meeting Kabarak University Vice Chancellor Prof. Jones Kaleli stressed the need for institutions to focus not only on imparting skills but also shaping the character as well as it has a bearing on an individual’s output. “We need to educate both the mind and the heart. As institutions we have a role and responsibility for the development of the whole person,” he said.
“Character formation governed by proper moral values is critical in life and should never be ignored in any educational institution. As it has been said in other circles, if you lose your wealth you lose nothing, if you lose your health you lose something, but when you lose your character you lose everything. Thus without training in character we shall be producing half-baked persons,” added Prof. Kaleli.
Speaking during the same forum the County minister of education Prof. Kitetu acknowledged that a majority of young people are not meeting the expectations of employers. She however added that though the problem was big it can be dealt with but will require concerted effort among all key players; the Government, private sector, academia and the community.
“There is a serious challenge that will require a review of the curriculum but we also have a problem of attitude among our young people and this will have to be fixed. Some of our young people have developed a beggar’s attitude and are not ready to work,” said prof Kitetu.
Kabarak University Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Kefa Rabah said that inbreeding in our institutions of higher learning should be discouraged as it limits growth of new ideas and attitudes in our institutions. “In MIT in the United States one cannot teach in the same institution unless they have taught outside for at least three years. We need to adopt the same in our institutions,” he said.
Participants were unanimous that that there is need to bridge the skills gap by having partnerships and linkages between the private sector and institutions so that the institutions can tailor what they teach to match current trends in the job market. It was also proposed that entrepreneurial skills should be entrenched in our curriculum and the Government to create an environment that will allow young entrepreneurs to grow. The mindset of the youth should also change to view vocational training positively.
Kabarak University DVC Prof. Kefa Rabah addressing participants during the forum at the Rift Valley Sports Club
It was concluded that though the problem was a national problem the counties also have a responsibility to address it at their level and not wait for solutions from elsewhere. A committee comprising of employers, academia and the County Government was formed to come up with short term and long term measures that could help mitigate the challenge at the county level.
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