National Construction Authority (NCA) Executive Director, Eng. Maurice Akech addressing the press at the sight where a 6 story building collapsed on 15th November 2022. [Wilberforce Okwiri,Standard]

A catastrophe emanating from the questionable integrity of buildings to be brought up in the coming financial year is looming after the National Treasury slashed the National Construction Authority’s (NCA) entire budget of Sh1.3 billion for the 2024/2025 financial year.

The state agency that is charged with supervising construction of buildings across the country termed the development a blow and said this would cripple it in executing its mandate.

The institution also said it will be unable to pay salaries and other personal emoluments for the period under review.

NCA Executive Director Maurice Akech, while appearing before the National Assembly committee on housing, urban planning and development, said the move would also starve them of resources and they would not be be able to facilitate the safe construction of buildings.

Flanked by Housing and Lands CS Alice Wahome, Akech pleaded with the MPs to come to the agency’s rescue, noting that the lack of funds would not only delay a review of the NCA Act and Regulations but it would also affect the payment of non-discretionary expenses such as employee’s costs, rent, utilities, contracted services and insurance.

Akech said the funds had been scheduled for the payment for the inspection of approximately 200 projects under the affordable housing programme from the design stage to completion at a cost of Sh300 million and ensuring that all projects were registered and complied with the required standards. This includes getting approvals from the relevant authorities at Sh10 million. 

Other obligations include targeted accreditation of 500,000 construction workers over a period of five years at Sh100 million as well as the standardisation and improvement of construction techniques and materials for affordable housing, at a cost of Sh50 million.

“The execution of the authority’s core mandate on its regulatory functions, including monitoring and enforcing compliance with construction regulations, building code and standards will greatly be hindered. This will negate the strides made by the authority in promoting safe construction structures in the country,” he said.

“The full rationalisation of the government revenue has further compounded the revenue shortfall which can be bridged through reinstatement of the construction levy and factored to the budget, otherwise the authority’s operations are crippled,” Akech said.

Wahome lamented the severe budget cuts would immensely affect the agency’s operations. 

She regretted that despite having initiated talks with Treasury, the money had not been factored in this financial year’s budget. 

“I had been telling the agency that they need to push for more funding but it is very unfortunate that they have now not been factored in the budget, Wahome said.

The development comes at a time when several buildings have collapsed due to poor craftsmanship and lack of approvals.