CHANGING TUNE

NMS caves in to pressure and restores e-construction application system

This followed a meeting with Regional Development CS Adan Mohamed on Friday'

In Summary

• City Hall launched the online QR Code system for development plans in March with the aim of reducing the approval time for construction permits.

• Various organisations, among them the Architectural Association of Kenya, had opposed the suspension of the system.

 

Nairobi Metropolitan Services director general Mohammed Badi
Nairobi Metropolitan Services director general Mohammed Badi
Image: COURTESY

Nairobi Metropolitan Service has bowed to pressure and restored the e-construction development application system.

Various organisations linked to development and city planning, among them the Architectural Association of Kenya, opposed the suspension of the system.

On Saturday, NMS director-general Mohammed Badi reversed the decision to suspend the system.

He also announced that all applications processed through the system between March 18 and May 14 are still valid but will be subject to verification. This was a retraction of his earlier notice declaring them null and void.

However, Badi said new Pre-Technical and Urban Planning Development committees are being reconstituted as per his May 13 notice.

That notice disbanded the Nairobi City County Pre-Technical Committee and the Nairobi City County Urban Planning Technical Committee. The new ones were to be constituted within seven days of the notice.

At a meeting last Friday, East African Community & Regional Development Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed asked the NMS to withdraw the advert cancelling previous approvals.

During the meeting attended by both NMS and the county government officials, the CS prevailed upon the DG not to take actions that can damage efficiency.

On May 14, AAK president Mugure Njendu wrote to NMS cautioning that the nullification directive would cost Sh36 billion in construction losses since 599 projects had been approved by the Pre-Technical and Urban Planning Technical committees.

Mugure further stated that architects also wanted a reversal of the suspension of the electronic construction permit system, noting that it had eased their way of doing business.

City Hall launched the online QR Code system for development plans in March with the aim of reducing the approval time for construction permits.

The Town and County Planners Association of Kenya, through chairman Mairura Omwenga, on My 14 reminded the NMS boss that the NCC e-development application system had been structured to minimise losses to all parties – government, developers, consultants and the public.

Omwenga said the system is a huge investment and takes 10-15 years to set up and train staff.

He opposed the NMS directive on submission of hard copy development applications at KICC, stating it will slow delivery of services and cause loss of revenue to the state.

TCPAK proposed the formation of three specialised departmental committees to restructure the existing committees.

The suggested committees are Town Planning Department Committee, City Architecture Department Committee and the City Engineer Department Committee.

The Law Society of Kenya stated that NMS is not a body established or recognised by law as there is no statutory instrument establishing it.

LSK president Nelson Havi was responding to a May 15 request by NMS deputy director-general Enosh Onyango for the nomination of an advocate of the High Court to be a member of the soon to be formed NMS Physical and Land Use Planning liaison committee.

“After careful consideration of the above, and in the absence of a statutory instrument establishing NMS, we have made the conclusion that NMS is not a body established or recognised in law,” Havi said and declined the request.

He quoted Article 260 of the Constitution in his argument that NMS did not meet the criteria of a public office.

“The same article further outlines state offices and state organs established under the Constitution. NMS does not make the list. It is therefore imperceptible from your letter under which written law NMS is established.” 

LSK said it couldn’t nominate any of its members to serve in the liaison committee since the "NMS lacks any legitimate legal foundation".

The Land Use and Physical Planning Act says the formation of a physical and land use planning liaison committee should be done by the County Executive Committee member for Lands, who should sign all the planning approvals.

 

–mwaniki fm