The Council of Oromia Regional State approved the upgrading of the Land Development & Management Department to the Land Development and Management Agency, on July 11, 2013. The suggestion was made by the Oromia City Land Development & Industry Bureau, where the department used to be.
The agency will have five functions: administer land, control land usage, manage land information, cadastre works and address investment requests and analsze land related information.
The Agency was initially intended to be set up during the just ended fiscal year. It was postponed, however, because of lack of human resource, according to Weyessa Debela, Property Evaluation Core Process head at the Oromia City Land Development & Industry Bureau.
The Agency will have 100 staff members, up from 21 when it was a department. The professional staff will be paid 3,500 to 8,500Br.
The Agency, which handles sensitive cases, is established with the intention of curbing corruption, says Weyessa.
The agency will administer the land according to thenew cityland administration and lease regulation and directive, which the region issued three weeks ago.
Oromia is the second to issue the regulation for the implementation of the October 2011 revised land lease proclamation, after Addis Abeba issued its in January 2012. Prepared only in Amharic, the proclamation gives right for cities and regions to produce their own regulations and directives.
The Oromia regulation will have land given out through auction and assignment and avoid inheritance and succession, which had been part of the practice in the region.
“There were different leasing prices in the region, even under the same purpose for land, in the same city in the region, before,” said Weyessa.
There are 560 towns in the region. However, only 44 of them, including those in the Oromia special zone, have started operating under the new regulation for now. This is because of unfulfilled infrastructure, according to Weyessa. Among the rest, 267 towns are likely to begin, if they intensively work and fill infrastructural gaps in water, electricity, road and telephone.
“Towns are provided with plans to increase their incomes during the year, the other cities will join gradually,” he said.
All towns in the region must come under the new practice within five years, according to the regulation.
Those cities not under the regulation are not privileged to float land auctions. However, they give land through renting, the same way and with the same price as before, Weyessa said.
The Agency will also administer and control the development of the 11 industrial zones, which the Bureau has planned to develop in this fiscal year. These zones include Burayou, Sululta, Sebeta, Holeta, Arsi, Weleso, Ambo, Bishoftu, Dukem andEastern Shewa. The minimum area of land to be prepared for the industrial zone is 11ha.
Land will be given for religious institutions, administration offices, companies and foreign investors on floor prices, with different payment years.
If the investment is huge, it might be given for free, the regulation states.
The agency will give technical support to cities and zones in the region.
The new regulation has increased the floor prices for all types of land to be leased in the region. The lease of a square metre of first grade land for trade starts at 1011.50 Br; second and third grade lands start with 892.50 Br and 664.83 Br, respectively. Three and four star hotels will get first grade land for 896.00 Br and 640 Br, respectively. The rate for five star hotels will be determined by the state government.
For industry, it goes from 368.48 for the third grade to 520 Br for first grade; for public services, including – education, health, research, sport and culture, it goes from 255.36 to 762.30 Br; for real estate from 176.69 Br to 840Br and for residential houses it is 160.69 Br to 426 Br.
The lease time is 99 years for public services and residential houses, while it is 80 years for trade & others and 70 years for industry. The directive gives a grace period of two years for real estate, agro-processing and residential houses, and four years for industry.
With 10pc of the total lease price to be paid up front, it gives a deadline of 60 years, seven years and 40 years, for residential houses, urban agriculture and services, respectively. For trade 15pc of the total lease prise should be paid up front.
The Agency is directly accountable to the President of the region, according to Weyessa.
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