NMS lost Ksh.65 million through electronic permit system failure

It is now emerging that the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) lost about Ksh.65.35 million through an electronic permit system when it went down in May this year.

This prompted NMS to suspend the e-construction system after it was hacked which affected numerous illegal approvals, prompting officials to shut it down..

The President of the Architectural Association of Kenya Wilson Mugambi said the malfunctioning of the development Control Systems incurred losses due to heightened pending applications, which have impacted negatively on real estate developments in the city.

“While the automation of this function was expected to improve service delivery, ease of doing business and transparency, the industry has continued to experience major problems over the last decade, affecting the counties that have deployed the system,” said Wilson Mugambi.

A survey by the Architectural Association of Kenya, indicated that 47.6 percent of the respondents had to wait for over six months for their applications to be processed and granted approval.

A majority of the respondents claimed that for the projects that were pending approval, their applications had been pending for an average of between 3-6 months.

In the first half of 2020, NMS received a total of 970 building applications, 664 planning applications, and 866 renovation works applications signalling a drop compared to the numbers recorded in the first six months of 2021.

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In the current financial year, Ksh.30 million was set aside for the upgrade of the Nairobi e-construction system.

In a move to support orderly development of the building, and construction in the country, Mugambi said they have rolled out plans to address the challenges in the sector that included producing a standard set of procedures and updating the country’s building code.

The county governments are also urged to complete and publish zoning regulations so as to put in place mechanisms to be strictly enforced, for orderly development of the nation.

The association is further demanding adequate budgetary allocations by the county governments to ensure that the development control functions as a major revenue source.

This is aimed at hiring qualified persons to manage development control operations as well as ICT experts in ensuring the systems operate efficiently.

With the support of the World Bank Group, an electronic construction permitting system was initiated by the Architectural Association of Kenya to enhance efficiency and transparency.

Besides Nairobi, other counties that have so far adopted the system are Mombasa, Kiambu, Machakos, Kisumu, Kajiado and Kilifi.

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Collins Ogutu

Nairobi based Digital Journalist, Corporate Communication Expert and Digital Marketer with a wealth of experience in multimedia. Accredited member of the Media Council of Kenya.
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