State urged to address housing sector challenges
The government may now be required to make prompt interventions to address the growing challenges that continue to face the housing sector in the country if the affordable housing agenda is to be realized.
Housing players believe that unless swift responses are made to challenges facing the sector, the government might be required to delay the dream for up to ten more years.
According to Peter Kaloki, the managing director of Lifestyle Estates Limited, COVID-19 pandemic, heightened corruption, political instability in the country among other factors might delay the dream of adding an additional 500,000 homes that the Jubilee Government envisioned to achieve in five years.
With Kenya’s growing population of close to 50 million people and the continued expansion of the economy, Kaloki noted that more Kenyans have been leaving rural regions for more urban areas in search of higher paying careers, a trend he cited as having created more demand for additional housing in cities such as Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu among others.
The government’s dream to see Kenyans own modern housing units, he said could however be delayed and left for implementation by successive governments owing to financial constraints that most Kenyans have been grappling with as a result of Covid-19 turmoil.
Speaking during an open day ceremony where the company showcased completion and ongoing construction of over 350 housing units at Tatu City in Ruiru, Kiambu County, Kaloki maintained that the affordable housing agenda is achievable but not by the end of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s tenure.
“President Uhuru has very limited time to achieve this dream and it might be impossible for Kenyans to construct 500,000 homes between now and next year. The dream however remains valid if the successive governments devise mechanisms of making it happen with ease,” he said.
He rooted for unity among all stakeholders and called for creation of an enabling environment for the builders and easing of housing financing systems for the country to make the right step towards the major achievement.
With the right environment, Lifestyle Estates Limited, Kaloki said hopes to have built 1,500 housing units on its 30-acre land at Tatu City in four years alongside other projects it has successfully built and sold in Lavington, Mombasa Road among other areas.
In order to spur private sector investment and participation in housing developments, the government has actively been streamlining processes and developed a one-stop shop within the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing & Urban Development for companies interested in pursuing and/or developing projects.
Further, the government recently passed landmark taxation reform aimed at stimulating the sector, which includes lowering the corporate tax rate to 15%, capping import levies, and providing VAT exemptions for inputs to investors.