NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 24 – The government has set up a Housing Infrastructure Department as it seeks to meet the growing demand for decent and affordable shelter in the country.
Housing Minister Soita Shitanda said on Wednesday the new office within the ministry in partnership with the private sector is now facilitating the provision of physical and social (housing) infrastructure.
“When a developer moves to put up a house in an area where there’s no electricity, water and sewer line infrastructure, he will most likely try to recoup his costs by increasing the rental fees. But through this department, the government will provide all these services and hopefully have the charges come down,” he explained.
So far, the unit has completed the construction of water mains and the extension of sewer lines in Kiandutu Informal Settlement in Thika Town. Similar projects in Nairobi, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kakamega are in the pipeline.
The Minister said the government was also promoting the use of appropriate building technologies which would also lower the cost of construction particularly for low priced homes.
Towards this end, Mr Shitanda said a regional centre was being set up in Mavoko Town, Athi River which would facilitate a large scale availability of cost-effective building materials which would go a long was in building better shelters in Kenya and the East African region.
This is in addition to the building technology centres that have been planned in all eight provinces and which are expected to help to curtail mushrooming slums.
The Housing Bill also seeks to stop an influx of shanties. It proposes the establishment of the ‘Kenya Housing Authority\’, which will among other things be expected to monitor the housing and human settlement sector.