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Apartments under the affordable housing project in Parkroad,Nairobi that are near completion. [File, Standard]

Business News
New Treasury document shows State has so far fallen short in its promise to deliver half a million affordable houses by 2022

The government has put up just 228 affordable housing units so far, casting doubt over the ambitious target of half a million units by 2022. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta had set out to construct 500,000 affordable housing units in his second term under the Big Four agenda.

Its other pillars are manufacturing, universal healthcare and food security.

But with about two and a half years left to the 2022 deadline for achieving the goals set under the Big Four plan, the Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Ministry’s performance has been below par.

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The 228 units delivered so far are located on Park Road, Ngara in Nairobi.

According to documents by the National Treasury, the houses are part of 1,370 units that had been earmarked for construction on the piece of land in Ngara over the 2018/2019 financial year, but a majority of them remain unfinished.

China State Construction Engineering was given the contract to put up the units and began works in April.

Other than the affordable housing units, the ministry was also expected to put up another 12,409 houses.

These were a mixture of social housing units as well as houses for the police, prison warders and other civil servants. It, however, fell short on this front and delivered just 1,100 units.

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Treasury cited the lack of funds, litigation from disgruntled bidders, difficulties in accessing land and limited local contractor capacity as among the challenges in implementing these and other infrastructure projects.

Project delays

“The slow implementation of capital projects occasioned by local contractor’s capacity inadequacy has gradually culminated in project delays, cost overruns and possible legal and contract challenges arising from arbitration and contractual issues impacting on project implementation,” said Treasury.

The issue of land access has been a major sticking point, stalling various government projects, especially those under the State Department of Housing and Urban Development.

They include a social housing project in Kibera, which according to the Treasury report, was delayed due to the process of relocating the affected persons.

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“Acquisition of sites, wayleaves and escalating cost of land acquisition due to speculations, compensation variations between the market value and the local owner’s expectations and encroachment of land earmarked for development purpose caused project delays and increased costs of projects,” said Treasury.

It urged government entities responsible for the acquisition of land to fast track the process, including handling litigations and compensation claims on time to avoid cost escalations.

To deal with the challenge of lack of adequate funds, Treasury recommends having “modalities of building capacity in the sector by promoting and facilitating Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).

This, it hopes, would complement government funding and improve the planning and execution of State programmes.

“This will fill the gap left by the government budgetary allocation,” said Treasury.

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Housing project Housing and Urban Development Ministry Park Road Ngara National Treasury

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