Houses for who? Kenyans react harshly to President Uhuru’s Housing Agenda

Optimism as President Kenyatta’s affordable housing plan set to kick off this month

Owning a decent house remains a distant dream for most middle and low-income Kenyans The stage is now fully set for the government to launch the first phase of its ambitious initiative to help one million Kenyan families own affordable homes. The first project, to be unveiled at Park Road in Nairobi’s Ngara area later in October 2018, will see at least 2,000 low-cost houses built within the next few months.

Other areas to be covered in the first phase include Makongeni, Shauri Moyo and Starehe as well as Mavoko in Machakos county. Under the programme, a bedsitter in the capital city will cost KSh 600,000, a one-bedroom house KSh 1 million while a three-bedroom house in an apartment will cost KSh 3 million. At the moment, the average selling price of a house in Nairobi is about KSh 12 million, which locks out majority of Kenyans.

Optimism as President Kenyatta’s affordable housing plan set to kick off this month

In recent days, major deals and legislation have been passed in support of the affordable housing project, which is one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda during his last term in office. While in New York for a UN meeting with other heads of governments on Wednesday, September 26, the president signed an agreement that will see the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) deliver 100,000 affordable housing units. All the county governments will collaborate with the central government in a deal that will see at least 2,000 affordable houses constructed in each county. Under the memorandum of understanding, which governors have signed, counties will give land while the national government will provide capacity building and funding. Thirty six governors have already signed agreements with the national government for the extension of the project in their regions. According to Housing Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, the government has already secured about 7,000 acres of land for the first phase of building the affordable homes.

Optimism as President Kenyatta’s affordable housing plan set to kick off this month

To improve the living conditions of majority of city dwellers who live in informal settlements, Uhuru’s administration aims to fully eradicate slums within the next five years. That is why the housing programme includes 200,000 social houses in slum areas.

Well not so many kenyans on Twitter were impressed with the Agenda n here is how they reacted:

The latest data indicate that six out of every 10 people living in Nairobi operate from slums, and that the city has a deficit of nearly two million housing units. It is estimated that the whole project will cost about KSh 2.3 trillion, and the government has already placed a seed capital of KSh 6 billion in the 2018/2019 budget. The Kenyan workers, who will benefit from this initiative, will make monthly contributions of 1.5% – up to a maximum of KSh 5,000 – towards this. In turn, those who will take the homes will benefit from tax cuts and other financial incentives, which make the homes much cheaper. Uhuru’s other areas of focus in the Big Four agenda include universal healthcare, food security and manufacturing. In the budget, KSh 400 billion was allocated for the four targets.

President Uhuru Kenyatta witnesses the signing of a deal to deliver 100,000 affordable housing units financed through a partnership between the Kenya Government and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) on the sidelines of the ongoing 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York City, USA. /PSCU

When fully implemented, the agreement will boost Kenya’s efforts towards the realization of the ambitious affordable housing agenda as outlined in the Big 4 development blueprint by injecting 100,000 units into the market.

“Our Affordable Housing Program seeks to implement interventions that will ensure that developers can produce housing units at scale, homebuyers can access affordable financing facilities that allow them to buy homes, and that the enabling environment facilitates innovation, embraces technology, and commercial arrangements that can bring down the cost of construction,” President Uhuru observed when he witnessed the signing of the agreement.

The total estimated investments for the program of delivering affordable housing is approximately Sh1.3 billion.

President Uhuru said he wants the Government to deliver on its housing commitment without putting undue pressure on the exchequer.

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