Affordable homes ready in September - CS Macharia

But only 288 houses will be given out of the 1,370 promised in Phase I

In Summary

• Macharia says Sh 2.2 trillion has already been mobilized for project.

• Kenya has a deficit of 200,000 houses annually; 6.4 million people live in slums.

Transport CS James Macharia
Transport CS James Macharia
Image: FILE

Beneficiaries of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s affordable housing project will get keys to their houses in September.

But only 288 homes will be ready out of the 1,370 under construction in the first phase.

President Kenyatta has promised 500,000 affordable houses by 2022.

Transport and Housing CS James Macharia yesterday gave an update of the progress of the project.

Macharia said the project is on course despite spirited attempts by "cartels" out to derail one of government’s Big Four agenda.

Macharia said Sh2.2 trillion has already been mobilized for the project.

President Kenyatta in his last term has identified food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare as his targets in the next three years.

Kenya has a deficit of 200,000 houses annually while 6.4 million people live in slums. 

The project has however faced a barrage of criticism for the way it has been rolled out.

Kenyans were particularly furious after the government announced a lottery system would be applied to determine who is eligible to own a house.

Under the system, the Ministry of Housing wants employers to deduct 1.5 per cent of staff basic salaries and remit it to Kenya Revenue Authority.

Employers are expected to match their employees’ contributions. However, the High Court suspended the deduction that was to start this month pending hearing of a case challenging the levy.

“If we are committed, nothing is impossible. Ordinary Kenyans are registering even as matapeli (cartels) are arguing,” Macharia said. 

Upon completion of the houses that are being constructed by the private sector on government land, they will be purchased by the proposed Housing Fund.

The houses will then be offered to the registered members at interest rates of between three to seven per cent.

The CS said there will be an objective and fair way of allocating houses.

Macharia made his remarks at Park Road, Nairobi, after inspecting construction of affordable houses.

The CS assessed the progress made in Phase 1 of the project set to deliver the first 288 out of the 1,370 affordable housing units by the end of September.

Macharia was accompanied by Trade CS Peter Munya,  deputy head of public service Wanyama Musiambo, Education CAS Colletta Suda and Housing PS Charles Hinga.

The government has opened an online portal where Kenyans who want homes need to register.

For one to be eligible to own a house, one must be a citizen, be over 18 years of age and have a valid national identity card.

One must complete his or her profile by submitting personal details and their housing preference.

Macharia said 220,000 Kenyans have registered under BomaYangu website.

“I am happy because 95,000 of these are people in the Matatu sector,” he said.

During the tour, Ngong Road traders, Kamukunji traders and Kariobangi light industries signed a contract with the builder to supply doors and windows worth Sh122 million.

“We have also mapped 488 slums countrywide. By completion of some of these projects, slums will be a thing of the past,” Macharia said.

He said Kibera has been zoned into four zones.

Eight hundred and twenty-two houses will be built and people are to pay for the houses at the same rate they used to pay, he said.

He said once the project is rolled out to the rest of the country, some 350,000 jobs will be created.

Macharia said the national government has signed MOUs with 25 counties, with Sh111 billion distributed to counties to improve infrastructure.

He said 13,00 acres countrywide have been earmarked for the housing project.

Munya said those opposed to the project are cartels that have over the years benefited from “too expensive land and mortgages.”

Munya said his ministry will keep upscaling the capacity of small scale traders to move from the informal sector to the formal.