Deploying GIS technology for Property registration,revenue mobilisation and appraisal for devolved systems in Kenya.

Author :Ernest Ndugah

Geospatial technology applications has penetrated virtually every industry that advances the use of locational data to derive growth in its business. With the rapid raise in technology adoption and increase in location driven data sources  ,many organisations are now rethinking how they can improve their  traditional approaches decision making  with local-centric datasets.

Locational driven data  and analytics leverages  users with intelligence  and capabilities to make accurate and informed decisions which is a key consideration for many sectors of the economy.

Land and Property market is a huge and pervasive  sector in all economies worldwide with massive potential to support revenue enhancement strategy for  national and decentralised governments especially for developing economies where a number of  revenue sources are largely underexploited.

In developed economies ,GIS technology has been embraced to support  development of  digital  cadastre, preparation of valuation rolls, a up-to-date-digital tax maps for citizens, developers and businesses.

The establishment of county government in Kenya comes with new opportunities  and challenges ,county faces gaps in revenue necessary to support sustainable developments within their jurisdictions. These counties also grapple with  challenges how to document land property records and assets  and still rely on old ,undated and manual records inherited from defunct local authorities.

Property tax is considered one of the most important tax revenue source available to a national and decentralized governments and would help them net more revenue.

How is GIS key to unlocking this opportunities.

GIS technology is very key and can support counties accelerate the discovery, mapping and documentation of land property within their major urban environments and is crucial in the   implementation of  integrated property revenue collection and management systems .

GIS tools and application can support the following areas;

  • Tap the full potential of property tax as a source of own revenue for county governments
  • Bring all properties into the tax net.
  • Introduce system improvements to increase efficiency in tax administration focusing on the entire value chain – coverage, billing, collection and enforcement.
  • Make the system of assessment transparent and simple so as to be easily understood and interpreted by all property owners.
  • Eliminate/reduce subjectivity and discretion in assessment particularly at the field level.
  • Remove existing inequities in tax burden on similarly placed or similarly used properties.
  • Support  property owners/occupiers to calculate tax liability on their own, file self-assessment forms and pay tax on that basis, putting the onus upon the assesses to pay tax on time.
  • Reward honest tax payers and penalize defaulters.
  • Have a proper information system for monitoring to ensure full coverage in assessment and full collection of tax dues.
  • Make the systems of assessment, collection and information citizen friendly.
  • Introduce efficient mechanisms for addressing  grievances  and dispute settlement.

With appropriate property tax  reforms and regulations within county governments ,the full exploitation of property tax revenue can yield immense benefits .GIS  technology therefore remains a key consideration for the decentralized governments.