- Category: News and Highlights
Clearly defined property rights are the cornerstone of the property market and thus economic development. Such clarity facilitates efficiency by promoting voluntary exchange of property to the highest bidder. However, clarity of property rights without protection through an efficient registration process is not a sufficient condition to guarantee market efficiency.
Over the years, Kenya’s rankings in the World Bank's Doing Business annual report have declined from position 71 in 2006 to 131 in 2014 and further declined to 136 in 2015. As a critical factor of production, land has a major role in an economy. The process of registering land forms part of the key indicators reviewed annually by the World Bank Doing Business rankings. This indicator embodies the procedural process that an investor must follow while purchasing and selling property. In view of this, the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) conducted a study in April/May 2015 to review the process of registering property (land) with regards to time, costs, and associated procedures and challenges in selected counties in Kenya.
Although the government has introduced land reforms, including policy and regulatory changes, to enhance efficiency in land transactions, the process of registratering land does not seem to have improved, warranting the need for review from a policy perspective. On June 16th 2015, preliminary findings on “Registration of Property in Kenya” were presented during a policy dialogue at the Panafric Hotel.
Participants during the dialogue included lawyers, architects, property developers, representatives from the National and County Government including Ministry of Land, Housing & Urban Development and Nairobi City County; other government agencies including The Board of Registration of Architects and Quality Surveyors of Kenya (BORAQS) and National Housing Corporation (NHC); the civil society including Land Development and Governance Institute and Kenya Land Alliance and private sector representatives and professional organizations including Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK), Institute of Surveyors of Kenya, Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) and Kenya Association of Manufactures (KAM).
During the policy dialogue, Prof. Joseph Kieyah of KIPPRA presented the regulatory land reforms in Kenya, linking them to the study’s findings.The study revealed a multiplicity of procedures and agencies associated with registration of property and the lack of clarity of roles of Ministry of Lands and the National Land Commission. Furthermore, the study affirmed that the procedure associated with registration of property remains largely unchanged despite the recent regulatory reforms and in some instances introduced more registration delays and increased bureaucracy.
The key policy issues identified during the policy dialogue included: The importance of establishing appropriate land rights on all forms of land (especially community land); the need to establish an effective dispute resolution mechanism; the need for clarity of roles of key players; the importance of a clean efficient and effective digitised land registries with clean titles; the importance of rationalizing functions to ensure efficiency and the importance of a appropriate regulatory framework.
--- Prof. Joseph Kieyah and Anne Gitonga