Uhuru drums up support for cheaper houses’ plan

Some of the houses of 'Assisted Living houses' of Green Park Estate in Athi River. [Photo: Elvis Ogina.Standard]
President Uhuru Kenyatta will by next week unveil the first housing project under his Big Four agenda. 

Speaking yesterday during the Jamhuri Day celebrations, the President said his administration had made some strides in the construction of 500,000 cheap homes by 2022.

“I hope to launch the first of the many housing developments in a week’s time from today,” he said.

He said a partnership between the Government and the private sector would be instrumental in attaining of the housing plan, which is part of his Big Four agenda. Others are food security, manufacturing and affordable healthcare for all.

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Nakuru County has been identified to pilot the affordable housing project.

The President also outlined what the Government was doing to create jobs, achieve universal healthcare and boost food security.

“We decided to have manufacturing as one of the four pillars of the Big Four agenda in order to grow a larger national cake. Our aim is to sharply raise the contribution of manufacturing to our national income as a means to achieve shared prosperity,” he said.

To shore up manufacturing, the President rallied Kenyans to support the “Buy Kenya, Build Kenya” initiative.

“I expect all Kenyans to support this strategy. To attract investors, both local and foreign, we, as a government, have been investing heavily in power generation, modern roads and railway, education and health,” he said.

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The President also acknowledged the improved ranking of Kenya in the World Bank’s ease of doing business report, which placed Kenya at position 61 globally, up from position 80 last year. This makes Kenya one of the most improved countries in the world.

“This is still not good enough, especially with regard to small and medium size businesses, which still have to contend with far too much red tape and corruption,” he said.

On the housing front, the President reached out to the private sector to support the initiative.

“In parallel to these efforts, the private sector shall, by subscribing to the new housing development framework guidelines, be able to develop housing projects for the off-take by the Housing Fund. With all of us working at full steam, the dream of creating half a million new home owners is attainable,” he said.

Fund approved

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Already, the National Assembly has approved the establishment of the Kenya Housing Development Fund, to which employers and employees will each contribute 1.5 per cent of gross salary.

The money can be accessed through a tenant-purchase deal for those in affordable housing bracket (earning less than Sh100,000). Those who do not qualify can get back their contributions in 15 years, with interest.

Those who qualify for the houses will be able to pay for them by borrowing from the newly created Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company.

The President said the refinance company would help stretch the tenure of loans from the current seven years to 20 years and help bring down interest rates to single digits.

President Uhuru KenyattaJamhuri Day celebrationsBig Four agendaHousing project