, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – The government is seeking to have land compensation during infrastructural projects done by providing alternative property and not cash.
Transport Principal Secretary Irungu Nyakera argues that going forward, cash compensation may not be sustainable because it is very expensive.
He argues that government has so much land which can be used to fairly accommodate those affected during any mega project.
“I am proposing a change in narrative and if it ends up being a law so be it. The proposal is, government has a lot of land. If I take your half an acre I should give you another half an acre, or a full acre somewhere else,” Nyakera said.
Citing the Standard Gauge Railway, the PS regretted that the government is using over Sh30 billion on land compensation to some people who even don’t reside in the land.
He argues that a lot of people have turned land compensation into a money making business at the cost of infrastructural projects yet they are aimed at benefiting all Kenyans.
Others he says, buy land at the affected areas so as to make money during compensation.
“I do not believe it is sustainable. We need to change this narrative because at the end, it is public good. A road is a public good and should override private interest and we just need to figure out, how do we compensate?” the PS said.
PS Nyakera was speaking during the launch of the Corporate Social Responsibility Report in the SGR project on Thursday.
So far, the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) has paid Sh12 billion in land compensation along the corridor, awaiting Sh18billion.
Over 4,500 hectares was acquired for the project affecting 5,000 people who benefited from the compensation.
If this proposal goes through, PS Nyakera says it may be applied in the construction of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia- Transport (LAPSSET) adding that cash compensation will be too expensive.
“If we were to compensate for almost 900 kilometres for the LAPSSET project, we will be talking of millions of dollars before we even start the constructions itself,” he said.