The County government of Kilifi has attributed its low collection of revenue to failure by most property owners to pay dues.
The County Chief Officer for Lands Dr. James Kapanya Nguzo said a huge chunk of the Sh1 billion raised locally by the county government annually comes from about 13,000 properties yet the county is endowed with more than that number.
He said the County government conducted a valuation exercise for all ratable properties and registered some 46,000 such properties and prepared a draft valuation roll that if adopted could see local revenue triple.
Dr. Nguzo was addressing journalists at the Takaye Multipurpose Hall in Malindi Sub County where a mobile valuation court had been sitting to hear objections lodged to the county government by property owners not happy with the valuation of their properties.
“We carried out a valuation of properties in the county last year and registered about 46,000 properties, meaning that only about 30 percent of the property owners are paying rates to the county government,” he said.
“As we speak, the County government has a roll of only 13,000 properties, and remember lands rates are the key source of county governments’ local revenue. The valuation roll that we are making is more than triple as it has 46,000 properties,” he said.
However, he said, some 765 property owners lodged complaints with the county government, claiming their properties had been over-valued leading to the establishment of the valuation court to listen to the complaints and make a determination.
“This means that more than 98 percent of the owners of properties captured in the valuation support the exercise,” he said.
Dr. Nguzo said the aim of drafting a new valuation roll was to increase the amount of revenue collected locally with a view to providing better services to county residents.
He said the rate payers captured in the draft valuation roll do not include property owned by squatters on government and private land, which if captured would make the county government rake billions of shillings in land rates.
Many urban centres in the county, he explained are inhabited by tens of thousands of squatters who have built expensive houses but are not paying land rates because they do not have ownership documents.
By Emmanuel Masha/Mercy Kendi