Kenya to construct one million houses at Sh2.6 trillion by 2023

People walk past the railway housings at Makongeni in Eastlands Nairobi
People walk past the railway housings at Makongeni in Eastlands Nairobi

The government is set to partner with 35 private firms to construct a million housing units by year 2023 at the cost of Sh2.6 trillion

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the project is in line with the affordable housing project that is one of President Uhuru Kenyatta's big four action plans.

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''As a step towards implementing the New Urban Agenda, parliament has approved a number of facilitative policies which include the National Urban Development Policy, National Building Maintenance Policy and National Slum Upgrading and Prevention Policy," said Macharia.

"In addition, parliament will soon enact the Urban Areas and Cities Act,'' he told National Urban Forum held in Nairobi on Monday.

The minister added that his ministry will develop sectionals papers and facilitate change of laws, especially on land utilisation, so people with idle people can be penalised.

Already, the state has come up with incentives to facilitate private sector investment in low income housing. They include reduction of corporate tax and scrapping of levies charged by the National Construction Authority (NCA) and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)

The Cabinet Secretary said the government has shortlisted 35 qualified construction companies from a total of 60 firms that tendered applications but declined to reveal their identities.

Macharia said the government will launch the pilot scheme in Mavoko in February, while actual projects will be in locations including Kitengela, Athi River and parts of other counties.

“A lot of land is wasted, in Eastlands for example, because there are single units which take up a few people. We want to negotiate with county governments, so they can bring down those houses, so we can put up 16-20 storey buildings and serve more people.”

Currently, Kenya has an accumulated housing deficit of more than two million units. Current production is less than 50,000 units against the required

244,000 in different market segments every year.