State Department for Housing and Urban Development Principal Secretary Charles Hinga has called for a sober discussion on the housing fund saying some of those fighting it were supporting it during campaigns.
Speaking during an interviews with Spice FM, PS Hinga said the Azimio coalition and its presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga had relentlessly voiced their support for the housing levy during the campaigns and shouldn’t change tune just because they lost the elections.
Hinga recounted a meeting with the former Prime Minister way back in 2012 where they discussed the housing deficit in Kenya saying Raila was very passionate about the plight of Kenyans living in informal settlements in the Country.
According to the PS, a majority of Kenyans live in rentals not because they want but because they can’t afford to own.
“We may disagree on how we want to solve a problem but we must start by agreeing we have a problem. 4m Kenyans living in informal settlements. These are Kenyans living in places where they lack basic services, and when the Government comes up with a solution to the same, the affluent and wealthy want to decide for the less fortunate,” He said.
Under the Affordable Housing Program, the Government provides land for free, waives taxes for the developer and standardizes cost of production for materials.
These waivers therefore mean the cost of the housing units go down considerably compared to the market value by private developers.
PS Hinga said the while they are solving the housing deficit by ensuring decent and affordable units for Kenyans, they are at the same time addressing unemployment among the youth.
“Behind the program, behind the noise there are people with testimonials. When you believe in something, you will help the likes of the 55 home owners from Ngokomka who own houses in Parkroad,” He said.
Ngokomka association did 8500 doors for the Parkroad project at a cost of Ksh 120m and some of the members used their proceeds to buy houses.
The PS welcomed the debate on the finance bill saying recommendations from Kenyans during public participation will be incorporated.
“We have a broken Housing system. We have 1141 informal settlements in our Country while over 65pc of Kenyans living in urban areas live in slums. If we leave the housing deficit problem to the private sector, they will only provide for 3pc and informal settlements will continue growing,” He said.