President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta launched the National Land Information Management System (NLIMS) commonly called Ardhisasa to digitize all the land records in the country and establish the land management system. The exercise began in earnest in 2013 and is aimed at bringing efficiency and transparency in the sector of land in Kenya. Digitization is a blessing because it is faster and more flexible, convenient, saves money wasted on managing the paper records.

The digitization initiative is to improve service delivery and enhance ease of doing business by addressing various challenges in the land sector. This include inconsistency on land records and ownership documents, increased land disputes due to the opaque nature of keeping land records, increased cases of fraud, forgery and corruption, lengthy and indeterminate transactions turnaround time among other challenges.

The digitization is meant to facilitate the following applications online;

1.       Searches (search land ownership records);

2.       Land Rent (payment of rent, uploading of receipts and downloading rent clearance certificates);

3.       Transfer of ownership of property;

4.       Assessment of stamp duty;

5.       Creation of Securities against property;

6.       Land Rates (query and pay land rates);

7.       Obtaining consents to Transfer, Charge and Lease;

8.       Mass Titling program verification (authentication of owners).

9.       Cautions and withdrawal of caution (application for the registration or withdrawal of a caution).

How to Register on Ardhisasa.

To access the services offered on the Platform, one must hold an account with Ardhisasa. The system provides for the registration of three types of accounts;

1.       Individual Registration: To register an individual account, one is required to submit the following in the Platform;

a.       National Identification Card Serial Number and the ID Number,

b.       Current email address,

c.       Passport-sized photo (with white background), and

d.       Current personal phone number. 

2.       Professional User Registration:

The individual user account provides a separate interface that enables professionals such as Advocates, Registered Physical Planners, and Registered Quantity Surveyors to upgrade their account to a professional user account. To register a professional user account, one must;

a)       be registered as an individual user,

b)       be a member of good standing to the relevant professional body that governs his/her profession and;

c)       have copies of the requisite documentation.

The professional account enables professionals to initiate specialized services on behalf of their clients.

3.       Company Registration:

Companies are required to register company accounts. To register a Company account, one should have the following;

a.       Company’s Company registration number,

b.       Current official company mobile number (registered using one of the director’s ID number),

c.       Current company email address, and

d.       Passport-sized photo(s) of the directors (with white background).

Land digitization provides long-term preservation of records of paper records and it allows sharing knowledge within and across the land. The transition from the first registration regime to the current one and finally to the digitization of records has led to increased efficiency in conducting business and improved accountability mechanisms. More is still being done to ensure the digitization process is a success.

 Challenges that implementation of Ardhisasa may face.

Torn and missing records.

Due to the quality of the records, in most cases, the records are misplaced or destroyed. With this, it may be difficult to retrieve and update the same in the system. Moreover, some records are too old. The peppers are tattered not legible or missing posing difficulties in the entire digitization process. Owners are then forced to apply for the reconstruction of their files which is time-consuming.

Hostile working environment.

The process of digitization may be challenged if the people at the registries are not supportive. This lack of support may stem from the fear that if the digitization process succeeds, they will lose their jobs. Change management needs to be handled well.

Duplicity.

In the initial period, land owners may have to work manually and in the system. This is tiring and takes a lot of time and is even costly. The payments of rents and rates are as well required to be done through checking the online system for the figures then manual payments.

 Merits of Digitization.

Saves Money

Managing physical documents are costly and this makes one spends a lot of recourses or recurring records management versus the one times cost of digitization that could reduce overhead in the coming days.

Employers spend a lot of time locating records, sorting and exporting images or texts. That compared to what an employee earns per hour will helps lay bare the true cost of maintaining physical records.

Increase efficiency

Dealing with physical documents slows down the turnaround time. By choosing digital solutions the retrieval process at the registry will be faster.

Currently, we can rejoice that the process is underway. It is advisable for proprietors, to take the initiative of registering to the Platform and confirming their records.