Retirement schemes administrator, Zamara, is building a Sh400 million mall at its 30-acre plot in Kitengela where it has put up 211 housing units worth Sh2.7 billion.
Speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony over the weekend, the firm’s executive director, James Olubayi, said the development was the first step towards boosting income for the fund that currently manages Sh23 billion belonging to 33,000 workers.
“We have sold 65 per cent of the housing units comprising 2-, 3- and 4-bedroomed houses and since real estate has proved profitable, we have several land properties that are scheduled for development in the coming days,” he said.
The CEO, Sundeep Raichura, said Kenya could deepen uptake of retirement savings five-fold if it introduced a housing product linked to retirement savings.
“The biggest problem for most retirees is a house and any plan to hand over a house to a retiree next to a monetary on retirement could attract savers from both formal and informal sectors,” he said.
Bungoma governor Patrick Wangamati urged pension schemes to diversify their investments to include funding of public infrastructure projects such as water, roads, housing and power that directly benefit Kenyans.
He said county governments would then guarantee such funding and repay the same from money raised in usage fees.
Zamara Board of Trustees chairperson Lucy Kambuni said they had introduced a Tenant Purchase Scheme for all their members working in 187 companies that will be unveiled soon.
The move will see houses built for workers to live in and start repaying the ‘soft’ mortgage that recognises their contribution to the fund.
“We are witnessing retirees living in abject poverty after 30 to 40 years of hard work. This is disgraceful and that is why we have this innovative scheme that provides affordable means to own a house and be comfortable during one’s sunset years,” she said.
The housing project, Zamara Riverine, also features a nursery school, several playgrounds, a club house complete with a swimming pool, gym as well as meeting hall.
Mr Olubayi said while the housing units had their own title deed, the mall, water, sewer and playground plots will be owned by Zamara thereby ensuring residents enjoy better and efficient services while the fund continues earning returns from its investment.