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Railway pension hopes lie in Muthurwa land sale

Cargo containers at the Kenya Railways yard in Nairobi on November 13, 2017. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU
Cargo containers at the Kenya Railways yard in Nairobi on November 13, 2017. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 

The 8,000-member Kenya Railways pension scheme has initiated talks with the government for sale of its prime land for affordable housing projects.

Kenya Railways Retirement Benefits Management Scheme chairman James Olubayi said the talks will include sale of land around Nairobi’s Muthurwa for use in the planned traffic decongestion programme by the Japanese funded Viaduct Project being implemented under the Nairobi Integrated Urban Development Plan (NIUPLAN).

“The government has expressed interest in some of our properties and negotiations have commenced. We assure our members that their interests will guide the talks that we hope will enable us unlock the dead capital held in the prime parcels of land,” he said.

In an interview, Mr Olubayi said litigation by some pensioners had adversely affected the scheme’s liquidity despite them holding vacant parcels of land and developed properties worth Sh30 billion across the country.

The scheme has in the past placed four properties on sale including a developed plot at Matumbato B worth Sh1.2 billion, Nairobi Railway Goods Shed land (Sh2.5 billion), Muthurwa Estate (Sh4 billion), and its Ngara estate worth Sh2 billion. Court injunctions have, however, scuttled the deals.

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Mr Olubayi said bids for the plots had also slowed down mainly due to last year’s General Election.

“Last year due to the high profile political activities the property market was slow and very few sales of properties were successfully initiated despite the efforts of the corporate trustee. This already bad situation was worsened by court injunctions,” he said.

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