NAIROBI, Kenya, May 5 – The government has officially handed out 20 housing units in Nairobi’s Kilimani area as part of phase II of the Kilimani housing project under the Civil Servants Housing scheme established in 2004.
Beneficiaries of this phase were helped by the government to buy four bed-roomed apartments at a cost of Sh7.3 million per unit with a five percent reducing interest rate against the market price of Sh15 million.
Housing Minister Soita Shitanda who presented the house keys to their new owners on Wednesday said the scheme had so far financed the construction of 1,828 units in Nairobi and its environs.
“420 units are currently under development in Mavoko through the social infrastructure facilities in most provincial towns. My ministry plans to increase the maximum mortgage repayment period from a maximum of 18 years to 25 years,” he said.
Mr Shitanda who explained that the scheme was established to help the government provide decent housing for workers in the public sector, added that those who did not benefit in this round would be targeted in the upcoming developments.
The Housing Minister also called for private-public sector partnership in the housing industry saying that although the present building code was not friendly to development partners, it would be reviewed by December.
“It prescribes strict rules that building processes have to follow but it was recently revised and will be presented to the Cabinet for approval before the end of the year. The proposed planning and building laws and regulations will oversee and regulate the building development processes in the country,” he said.
Housing Permanent Secretary Tirop Kosgey noted that Kenya’s housing sector had in recent times become vibrant. He however added that unavailability of land and the ever increasing construction costs were making it hard for the citizens to own a house.
“What the manufacturers of cement say for instance is that the cost of electricity is very high which makes production of cement expensive. It has actually got to a point where it is cheaper to import cement from Egypt rather than buy locally. Land is also becoming very scarce,” he said.
Mr Shitanda further said that the scheme would cover Coast, Central, Western and Eastern provinces in the next phase as it expanded its capacities: “We will cover Mombasa, Kisumu, Kakamega, Nyeri and Athi River.”
Scheme manager Salim Mola also said that Ngara phases I and II would also be completed as scheduled although the first phase had met challenges. He added that the contractor who had earlier been assigned to the project was incompetent.
“As we talk the issues are being resolved. Ngara phase II is also in progress and in December we will officially hand them over. We also have a third project which is the decanting site for Shauri Moyo. The project is ongoing and we also have Makueni which is 90 percent complete,” he said.
Nairobi Metropolitan Development Secretary John Maina who was one of the benefactors commended the government for the move and asked the private sector to do the same for its employees.
Sh450, 000 was the minimum down payment paid by civil servants who qualified for this project. Those about to retire had to pay a higher amount as the idea is to have every civil servant (who qualifies) pay for their house by the time they retire.