Rent paid by civil servants to increase by up to 100pc, says PS Hinga

PS for State Department for Housing and Urban Development Charles Hinga when he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee. March 26th,2024 [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The government plans to hike the rent of civil servants living in 56,892 housing units across the country by as much as 100 per cent.

Housing and Urban Planning Principal Secretary Charles Hinga yesterday told MPs that he had written to the National Treasury seeking the greenlight to increase the rent given that the last rent review was conducted in 2001.

Appearing before the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee, the PS said the move was necessitated by the government's lack of adequate funding, which has delayed the refurbishment of the houses for the last 23 years.

He had appeared before the John Mbadi-led committee to answer audit queries for the 2021/2022 financial year.

"We wrote to the National Treasury on the rent issue and told them to allow us to increase it because we believe that it is high time we looked at this matter. The committee should note that the last review was done in 2001,” said Hinga.

He submitted to the committee that the review sought to match the rates charged on the houses with the current market reality.

The PS explained that government employees living along State House Road, for instance, were paying Sh30,000 a month whereas private houses along the road charged anywhere between Sh80,000 to Sh100,000.

He also drew parallels with the houses in Eastlands where the average rent for the government houses was Sh2,200 while in Mbotela along Jogoo Road, tenants were paying Sh1,000 for a one-room house.

No occupants

The House team also heard that most of the government houses needed urgent repairs and that some were so bad that they could not be refurbished and this had seen them go without occupants for a long period.

He explained that his ministry had been unable to repair houses in the current financial year due to the financial constraints occasioned by some of the houses not generating rental income.

The PS said his ministry had experienced a Sh506,585,000 shortfall in revenue collections for the period under review, against a targetted collection of Sh1,524,585,000 from the 56,892 houses.

Further compounding the State Department’s woes is Sh104 million owed to it by county governments and another Sh35.6 million that went uncollected from 1,714 houses