KISUMU, Kenya, Jan 11 – The Ministry of Housing requires a staggering Sh885 billion to eradicate all slums in the country.
Minister Soita Shitanda said the annual contribution of the government of Sh1 billion towards slum upgrading projects is a drop in the ocean.
Mr Shitanda said the funds being set aside for slum upgrading projects cannot cope up with the mushrooming of the informal settlements in the country.
"We get Sh1billion every year for the slums upgrading, this means that we have to take over 800 years to finish the slums in the country assuming that we are working with the same slum population," the Minister said.
He said eliminating slums in line with the Millennium Development Goals of the year 2015 is a mirage with the meagre contribution towards the programme.
He attributed the rise of informal settlements to the growing populations and rural-urban migration which he said was at an all time high as people sought employment.
However, the minister said that his ministry had continued to put such funds into good use that will gradually reverse the trend and improve the state of housing in the country.
"The country is capable of getting rid of slums if we get Sh885 billion, but our annual budget on slums at the moment will get us nowhere," said the minister.
He said that his ministry was facing some teething problems in the implementation of the slum upgrading projects across the country.
Speaking in Kisumu when he paid a courtesy call at the Nyanza Provincial Commissioner\’s office, Mr Shitanda said that some contractors whose work had been cancelled by the ministry had moved to the Public Procurement Oversight Authority.
The minister also appealed to private developers to assist the government in bridging the housing shortage in the country.
"We want the private developers to put up more houses in our towns to at least increase the number of housing units in our country," he said.
Mr Shitanda at the same time challenged municipal and town councils to rein in slum areas and buy the lands to put up decent but low cost houses.
He said the council should find ways of compensating those who own land in the slum areas.