Government maintains resolve on affordable housing

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President Uhuru Kenyatta when he visited Parkroad Estate in Ngara where the government is setting up 1370 houses. PHOTO/PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta when he visited Parkroad Estate in Ngara where the government is setting up 1370 houses. PHOTO/PSCU

The government spokesman Cyrus Oguna has reiterated the importance of the Affordable Housing project by the government, which is part of the Big Four Agenda and is geared towards delivering 500,000 housing units by 2022. In order to support the housing programme, the government announced a 1.5% housing levy on all employees’ salaries towards the Housing Fund.

However, the levy has faced a legal hurdle, twice, with the Employment and Labour Relations Court further suspending its implementation until June 10, the latest decision made late last month. Justice Maureen Onyango noted that the decision will allow 11 other cases to be consolidated, all challenging the levy proposal.

Speaking to the press in Nairobi, Oguna said the project is set to continue even after the current Jubilee administration finishes its term. He said the right to accessible and adequate housing is enshrined in the Constitution, “The government is committed to ensuring that every Kenyan is able to own a decent home.” He said affordable doesn’t necessarily mean low quality, but that the government is able to understand that not everybody can be able to rich in the rich estates.

He said the categories for the project have already been set out according to income, the first being Social Housing which targets those earning Kshs 20,000 and below, Low Cost which targets those earning between Kshs 20,000 and Kshs 50,000, the Mortgage Gap, between Kshs 50,000 and Kshs 150,000 and the Middle to High, targeting those earning Kshs 150,000 and more, “Nothing is as important as owning a decent home in an environment like Nairobi…What we are doing now is a bit late but we say better late than never,” he said.

He dispelled comparisons between Kenya and Singapore development track record, given the latter’s rapid development, saying the fixed and already functioning contributions made to ensure a stable housing sector in the country are higher than what the Kenyan government has set up.