The Policy of Affordable Housing (Rents) in Kenya under NASA and President Raila Odinga.
Nairobi, May 30th 2017. Author: Hon Kenneth Okoth, MP
The quest for affordable housing is a realistic pro-people agenda in the NASA manifesto that can be accomplished in five clear steps. It will promote social well-being, create jobs, and stimulate the economic growth of Kenya in a more equitable way. Here is what needs to be done to realise this worthy goal.
1. Subsidize the landlords and investors building rental homes for low and middle income families. Kenya government subsidizes importers of choppers, Brazilian sugar, and Mexican maize; why not local builders of rental homes for Wanjiku? National Housing Corporation and National Construction Authority to be revamped with enhanced resources, mandate, and targets for financing and construction of affordable housing in partnership with county governments and private sector.
2. Lower the taxes levied on building materials and costs of construction and promote innovation in use of local materials and job creation in the construction sector. Streamline regulatory framework and guidelines for easier processing of permits to build more affordable rental housing. Eliminate bureaucratic hurdles, corruption, and hidden costs that make doing business in Kenya a nightmare.
3. Regulate and negotiate mortgage rates for real estate investors and individuals; allowing owners to pay back their loans faster and enjoy returns on their rental investments.
4. Regulate rents in market segments where PPP (public private partnership) approaches have been used for affordability.
5. Implement comprehensive slum-upgrading program with new construction technology like in Malaysia and India.
The author is Member of Parliament for Kibra Constituency, Nairobi.