Plan to enable SMEs gain more from housing project


Hilda Kaaria, the Head of Supply Chain Management at the State Department of Housing and Urban Planning. PHOTO | COURTESY

The state’s plan to deliver affordable houses to Kenyans is providing opportunities for Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) to boost their earnings while deepening their experiences and skill sets on how to handle major projects.

The involvement of startups and small businesses is a deliberate move by the government to build their capacity while creating jobs for the youth.

“MSMEs will play a leading role in the delivery of the 500,000 affordable housing units as envisioned by the government under the Big Four agenda,” Hilda Kaaria, the Head of Supply Chain Management at the State Department of Housing and Urban Planning, told Enterprise.

The project, the official noted, has already created jobs for thousands of youths employed directly and indirectly in various construction sites across the country.

The government plan, Ms Kaaria said, is to boost local content development and ensure capacity building and up-skilling of local jua kali sector and other small businesses, as one of providing smart linkages through a digital platform dubbed Bomayangu.

“This (platform) is designed to incorporate multiple stakeholders including land developers, financiers, potential home owners and county governments,” said Ms Kaaria, a procurement specialist.

Through the Specialy Permitted Procurement that is facilitated by the National Treasury, the state department has enabled the Affordable Housing Programme (AHP) to ensure transparency and openness by placing a call-for-applications which has attracted a lot of partners such as startups, developers, technology providers’ consortiums and financiers.

“The programme has created a framework that enables on-boarded strategic partners to build on listed government lands within the AHP (affordable housing plan), created a hub for all partners to come together and privately invest as well as enabling suppliers to transact while the government enables payments from developers to the MSMEs through facilitating the MoU signing,” Ms Kaaria said.

Businesses with private projects that meet AHP requirements have also been invited to register their projects with the Housing ministry to benefit from the incentives set out in the housing projects. This way, their projects will be uploaded on Bomayangu subsequently providing additional market for their units.

The Housing department has further developed a procedure for MSME participation in the project enabling jua kali Associations like NGOKAMKA (Ngong road Jua Kali Kamukunji and Kariobangi jua kali associations) to “corporatise”.