NLC says Lamu land owners demands scare away investors

NLC says Lamu land owners demands scare away investors

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NLC boss Mohamed Swazuri media PHOTO/FILE.

Lamu, KENYA: The National Lands Commission-NLC has cautioned Lamu land owners against scaring away investors by frustrating key national government projects.

Commission chair Muhammad Swazuri has also warned that land owners are also delaying national government projects by issuing unrealistic compensation demands.

Speaking on Monday,Swazuri said land owners were demanding very high compensation which was in turn scaring away private investors from the county and country as a whole.

Swazuri spoke in Bahari ward of Mpeketoni where locals had earlier on opposed the Sh.21 Billion Wind harnessing power plant by the Kenwind company by making ‘unrealistic’ compensation demands(Sh 5 Million per acre compensation).

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Swazuri appealed to landowners to cease the habit saying due to such moves, the national government might fail to implement some projects.

He said it has become a national disaster that land owners want the highest compensation values to be paid as condition for that particular project to start.

He said in some cases,the demanded land compensation estimates have gone way beyond the total cost of implement the project which he termed unsustainable.

“Its so unsustainable that the LAPPSSET project alone requires around 10 million acres of land whereas the national government will not compensate for all the land but will also offer alternative land in some cases,”said Swazuri.

He said it was NLC’s mandate to provide lands for national projects and that as such,the commission had held consultative meetings with investors and squatters at Wetemere,the proposed project site.

The NLC boss said the wind project was critical in supporting the Lapsset project which requires a lot of power in its installations like the airport,oil refinery,port and the resort city.

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He said this has forced the government to outsource energy from the coal plant and wind program to boost the national grid.

Kenwind Holdings Director Susan Nandwa said no one would be evicted forcefully or without proper compensation and assured that all due procedures would be followed in land acquisition and compensation procedures.

The wind harnessing plant is a project by a Kenyan firm Kenwind holdings in partnership with Belgian firm Electrawinds and the World Bank after the International Finance Corporation, which is the private sector investment arm of the World Bank, announced its support for the project in June 2013.