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Ardhisasa to enhance revenue collection

The Government’s digital land platform, Ardhisasa, which has been integrated with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) systems will boost revenue collection by sealing tax loopholes that have always been exploited by unscrupulous traders.

Lands Cabinet Secretary (CS) Farida Karoney, said that the government collects revenue when one buys land and pays stamp duty, land rent, capital gains and all the taxes associated with land transactions.

Karoney said such taxes will henceforth be channeled directly to KRA because of the integrated platforms so that KRA is able to monitor in real time who is paying taxes, which taxes and how much is being paid.

“One of the reasons why we are very concerned about this digitization reform stabilizing is revenue generation because in a framework where you cannot account for all your properties, it is very easy for tax cheats to go below the radar and not pay their taxes but on a digital platform, every property is documented,” Karoney said.

Speaking on Monday at the National Geospatial Data Centre (NGDC) in Nairobi during a briefing with the President’s Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU), Karoney said that all the properties will be georeferenced and added they will have all the coordinates for the land and if KRA for instance wanted to asses tax in a property they will get the coordinates and visit the property and asses the tax.

“We are georeferencing all the properties in the country and if a title is on top of a roundabout as is the case in some instances we will know, if you try to allocate yourself land on the run way of JKIA, we shall know because we will just place coordinates and pin the parcel down on the ground,” said Karoney.

The CS highlighted that the system does not only help the Ministry of Lands but all other government agencies who need to deal with land and land based resources.

Karoney said that in the last one month, they have facilitated people to get loans worth over Sh21 billion by using their land as collateral in banks which means they have made the money available to the economy for various economic activities.

She said that the platform aims to create accountability and responsibility in terms of land administration and management, to generate revenue for the government so that it is able to provide services to citizens and to enable customers who are the land owners to transact easily, transparently and efficiently.

“In order to achieve this, we had to do data cleaning since there has been a lot of rot in the sector for the last 58 years and we have a lot of data sets, some of which have been acquired by fraud or the due process was not followed,” Karoney said.

The CS reiterated that the platform is built to force compliance with the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and the relevant sector laws, and added that in the event whatever parcel of land one is trying to transact does not demonstrate fidelity to those documents then it will not be uploaded onto the platform.

“The Nairobi registry which is now live has about 90, 000 title documents and only about 40, 000 are up on the platform and the balance of about 46, 000 is not on the platform because we are doing data cleaning so that we can ascertain that no one can take away someone’s land because the National Government is the guarantor of titles,” said Karoney.

She said that some titles will be damaged beyond repair since they are on road reserves, forests, airports, police stations or other public land.

“If you have a title registered in your name but the land belongs to the public, that particular title will never be on Ardhisasa,” the CS said.

Karoney said the project started in February 2018 and clarified that in their strategic plan they have until December 2022 to fully digitalize the whole country that is 47 counties. So far they have done one that is Nairobi County and are now doing the second one that is Murang’a and the strategy for this financial year is to do several counties simultaneously with the hope of doing around 23 counties by June 2022.

“We are mostly worried about the urban centers because that is where the layers of fraud have complicated the digitization program,” Karoney said adding that if they can cover half of the counties and mostly the urban areas then the reforms would have settled and covered the milestones that the President expected.

The Ardhisasa digital platform is the only digitized platform in Africa where buyers and sellers of land meet, transact land transactions and complete all statutory processes in just 48 hours. The system has so far recorded over 10,000 land transactions and has over 30,000 registered users.

Ardhisasa digital platform is a system made solely in Kenya by Kenyans. It was developed by an elite team of Kenyan software engineering practitioners and students. Only New Zealand has a system as robust as ArdhiSasa globally. The governments of Namibia, Ghana, Botswana, DRC, Nigeria and Egypt have sent teams to understudy the system and replicate the same in their countries.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a

 

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