20 counties sign MoU with National Government for development

Small townships would be formed in densely populated areas to house the populace under the affordable housing plan so as to leave room for agricultural activities.

The plan that targets to check subdivision of agricultural land is aimed at ensuring that even those in rural areas secure decent affordable housing units.

So far, over 20 counties have signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the National Government for development of at least 2,000 housing units in each of their respective counties annually.

Among the twenty, Kisumu and Homabay counties have already identified land for comprehensive planning and project implementation.

In densely populated areas such as Kisii and Murang’a counties, the devolved units have set aside land for township development away from the farmlands.

The move is expected to avail land for farming especially in the highlands and at the same time utilize relatively smaller tracks of land to accommodate area residents.

Exorbitant prices of land, high cost of construction and low purchasing power have been cited as root causes of the housing deficit.

According to the Housing department, over 74 percent of employees in the country earn less than Sh.50,000 per month and thus can only pay a maximum of Sh. 20,000 for housing per month against an average price of mortgage housing delivered by private sector at Sh. 9.1 million.

In a  move aimed at, spurring uptake of mortgages, the government the set up the Kenya Mortgage Refinancing Company as a financial intermediary between the capital markets and financial institutions.

In implementing the affordable housing plan, the government is working with among others, the county governments to provide land for the construction of the houses.

In Nairobi, the county government awarded six companies multibillion-shilling tenders to construct affordable houses in the capital city as part of the Urban Renewal and Housing Regeneration Programme that will construct more than 8,000 units.

The government is drafting a bill that will compel developers to designate 30 percent of houses they construct affordable housing units.

The government has so far approved ninety two alternative construction material providers in an move that is expected to lower the cost of building material with statistics indicating that, most Kenyans favour the use of brick and mortar, which is expensive, at the expense of low cost building technology.

Implementation of the Idle Land Taxation Policy, if adopted by the National Assembly and Senate, would see owners of idle land face penalties.

This is expected to avail land for among others construction, boost agricultural production and enhance food security.

Going forward, experts are calling for joint ventures between the government and the private sector as well as fast tracking development of requisite infrastructure in areas identified for the housing projects to support the Affordable Housing agenda.

Also read https://bit.ly/2VkfIHO


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