President Ruto's grand affordable housing plan targets 200,000 units yearly

President William Ruto leads the inspection of the affordable housing project at Mukuru in Nairobi on October 03, 2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

President William Ruto has detailed his plan to deliver 200,000 housing units annually that will heavily rely on counties' backing and how attractive the private sector will see the business environment.

The President, while launching housing units by a private developer in Ongata Rongai, Kajiado County yesterday, said his administration is drafting a programme that will rope in the private sector and county governments on developing affordable houses. The programme will also detail how finances will be made available for Kenyans to access mortgages.

"I have had meetings with pension institutions so that they can contribute to the financing for a mortgage for homeowners," said Mr Ruto.

He said he is engaging Parliament so that it creates a mandatory housing fund which will assist in building resources for long-term lending to developers and homeowners through mortgages. The programme, he said, will see 200,000 units every year, half of these will be a mix of social and affordable housing.

The President asked governors to release land for the construction of the units saying the national government will use its financial muscle to add amenities like water, sewage and roads. "We will start 5,000 units in every county going forward," he said.

He said affordable housing cannot be achieved by the government alone, adding that his administration will ensure private developers get a market for the constructed units when they partner with the state.

"We are going to support them through Boma Yangu to ensure they have buyers of those units and we are going to arrange for the mortgage," said the President.

He revisited the contested National Social Security Fund (NSSF) contributions insisting there is a problem with the country's saving culture.

He said he had reached out to all parties involved in the court case with the purpose of reaching a beneficial solution 'so that every Kenyan can save not only for emergency or retirement but also as a deposit towards owning a house.'

President Ruto said his plan for housing is not by default or accident but by design. He said his plan is to ensure housing does not compete with agricultural land. "The project of ensuring we do not engage land meant for food production for human settlement is the way forward in our economy," he said." Therefore, the whole programme of housing is because we want to make sure we use the resources we have well and develop (those resources) in a manner that benefits all citizens," he said.

He said his administration's housing programme will make it possible for carpenters, bodaboda operators, mama mboga and the likes to buy homes as it will ensure there are houses that fit every Kenyan.

"That is why I have said we will have social housing, rent to own, affordable housing and the others for those who have more finances," said the President.

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