State breaks ground for 1,000 low-cost houses in Nyandarua

Nyandarua governor Ndirangu Badilisha, (center) hands over a title deed to lands cabinet secretary Zackary Njeru in Ol Kalou town during the launch of the construction of some 1000 affordable houses. [James Munyeki, Standard]

Lands Cabinet Secretary Zackary Njeru yesterday commissioned the construction of 1,000 affordable houses in Ol Kalou, Nyandarua County.

According to Mr Njeru, the first phase of the project will see the construction of 400 houses, beginning with an initial 100 units at a cost of Sh250 million, which will be completed within a year.

The units will include 20 bed-sitters, with the rest comprising 40 two-bedroom and another 40 three-bedroom units.

He noted that the programme will ease housing challenges in the region and offer local youth employment opportunities.

"This is one of the promises made by President William Ruto on the affordable housing programme. We have identified Nyandarua as one of the counties to benefit, " said Mr Njeru.

He said that the government is ready to supply the region with other amenities like hospitals in the areas where the houses will be constructed.

"These are the benefits that will come with the affordable housing project. We are committed to making sure that this project is completed in collaboration with the county government," said the CS.

The county government has set aside 13 acres of land - with the initial phase occupying 1.3 acres - for the construction of houses under the affordable housing programme.

The county has provided utility services like access roads, water and other amenities and enablers, as well as waived levies and charges due from the approved development plans.

The National Housing Corporation (NHC), on the other hand, will provide the architectural designs, supervise the works, and fund the project. NHC recently signed similar agreements with the county governments of Embu and Kirinyaga, which will see the construction of 100 units in the first phase in each county.

Nyandarua Governor Ndirangu Badilisha hailed the move, saying it would improve the county's economy as provide houses for the poor. Badilisha regretted that most of his staff have been commuting from neighbouring towns like Nakuru and Nyahururu.

"We have a real problem with housing, especially here in Ol Kalou, which is the county headquarters. This will now be a game changer for our people, especially our staff. We want to thank the government for this initiative. We promise to give our full support to the contractor", he said.

Ol Kalou MP David Kiaraho noted that the project will provide hundreds of jobs to area youth.

"This is one of the solutions to the issue of joblessness in our county. We have enough expertise, and we urge the contractor to make use of them," he said. National Housing Cooperation Chief Executive David Mathu assured that the project would be completed on time.

"We want to assure residents that the project does not turn out to be a white elephant. We have set good plans to see that the project is completed on time," he said.

Mr Mathu said similar projects would be rolled out throughout the 47 counties.

"As of now, the corporation is in active engagements with several counties, and by the end of this year, we have planned to launch housing projects in almost all the 47 counties," he said.v

The contractor, Vee Vee Enterprises Ltd, is under obligation to make good use of the locally available labour and materials.

Governor Badilisha emphasised the point. "It is the expectation of the people of Nyandarua, and indeed His Excellency the President's undertaking, that the primary intended benefit of this programme is employment creation at the local level," he said.

Mr Mathu noted said aspects of works, including fabrication and fixing steel doors, steel windows and landscaping, have been ring-fenced for the small and medium enterprises and the local jua kali artisans.

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