The Joint-Committee conducting public participation on the Affordable Housing Bill, 2023 has undertaken to enact a water-tight legislation to safeguard the Affordable Housing Program.
Chairperson of the Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning Kuria Kimani gave the assurance during engagements with Lamu County residents at Faza Island in Lamu East Constituency and Lamu Social Hall in Lamu West Constituency.
Kuria noted that the Bill seeks to provide a legal framework for the establishment of the Affordable Housing Fund, access to affordable housing and to give effect to Article 43(1)(b) of the Constitution on the right to accessible and adequate housing.
“I wish to clarify that what happened today at the court of appeal does not in any way stop us from conducting the public hearings. Today marks Day 9 of this exercise and we’re set to finish next week. In fact this Bill’s objective is to create the legal framework which the court said the housing levy lacks”, he told the residents.
The Court of Appeal on Friday dismissed a Stay Application where the Government sought to continue collecting the Housing Levy until the appeal it filed is heard and determined
Responding to participants’ queries, Kimani assured that the Committee would consider creating a provision to ring-fence the Housing Levy for the Housing Program, along with stringent measures to prevent fund misappropriation.
Turning to the potential benefits of the program to the county, the residents called on the Committee to set up a regulation that will make it mandatory for the State Department of Housing to engage artisans and contractors from the County.
They also urged the Committee to find a mechanism to have skilled artisans recognized and recruited to work in the construction sites even if they do not possess certification.
Additionally, legislators pledged to advocate for a stimulus package to accelerate economic transformation in the county.
Speaking after the public hearing session, the lawmakers noted that their visit to Faza Island had given them a deep insight on the challenges faced by the area residents.
“Your Member of Parliament has been very vocal about the issues facing Lamu East Constituency. Now that we have come here and experienced first hand the challenges your people face, We shall support Hon. Ruweida Obo’s development agenda “, Hon. Munyoro said.
On her part, Hon. Ruweida told the lawmakers that the Constituency was ready to roll-out the implementation of the project.
She told the Committee that through the Constituency Development Fund, they had purchased a 5-acre piece of land in readiness for the construction of the 200 housing unit that each constituency was allocated a budget for, during this financial year.
The Committee is scheduled to engage more stakeholders over the Bill at Parliament Buildings on Monday and Tuesday next week.