Economy

Affordable housing hit by slow take-off

DNCOASTBUXTON1210C

The Ongoing construction of Affordable Housing at Buxton in this photo taken on October 12, 2022. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

The State’s Affordable House Programme (AHP) is likely to miss its targets for the current financial year after only 40,000 housing units and 120,000 jobs had been realised with just six months left to the end of the project phase.

The State had projected to build 250,000 affordable housing and create one million jobs this financial year ending June 2024.

With just six months to go, it means that the programme has just realised 16 percent of its housing units’ target and 12 percent for jobs.

To meet the targets, some 210,121 houses would have to be constructed in the remaining six months to June 2024, and 880,000 jobs created through the programme during that period.

President William Ruto during Jamhuri Day celebrations on Tuesday said there were 33 active housing sites across the country, with construction on an additional 31 sites expected to start in January, as he propped the programme as a “bottom-up job creator.”

With some 39,879 houses under construction on the 33 sites and 34,355 units expected to be put up on the 31 sites starting January, according to data from the State Department for Housing, the programme’s performance over the first six months falls below target.

“The housing programme is a bottom-up job creator. There are 33 active housing development sites already employing 120,000 people in various parts of the country,” President Ruto said.

The housing scheme was key to not only creating direct jobs for thousands of Kenyans in construction and associated services, Dr Ruto said.

“Our strategic focus is to construct thousands of housing units while creating millions of jobs,” he reiterated on Tuesday.

The current financial year started in July and formally employed Kenyans and their employers have been paying a housing levy at the rate of 1.5 percent of respective employees’ salaries.

The government collected Sh11.8 billion by the end of September, with the funds expected to spur private sector investments into the affordable housing sector, as it waives taxes and provides amenities such as land, roads, water, and electricity.

[email protected]