The government is rolling out a plan that will see developers get incentives in an effort to bridge the housing deficit gap. According to Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development Jacob Kaimenyi, some of the incentives will include provision of serviced land, affordable financing and reforms of land related laws.
Kenya has faced major challenges in the housing sector but at the same time provided opportunities for the same. The country has been experiencing an annual shortfall of housing, exceeding 250,000 units. There has also been an occurrence of rapid urbanization which is as a result of devolution and realization of vision 2030. Access to both prime and virgin land for housing has provided a perfect opportunity for investors in the sector. However, there are challenges that come with housing in Kenya. Such are; expansive growth of slums and informal settlements ,distorted access to land, high cost of finance ,existence of rigid building laws and regulations and the deterioration of housing stock due to lack of a maintenance framework.
Some laws and regulations have undergone through a review process in order to keep up with the best global practices and the ever growing demand and challenges. Such laws are; the housing policy 2004, housing act, and the building code. Also, the current housing policy sessional paper NO.3 of 2004 has been reviewed. This helps in reflecting on the government strategies of wholesomely addressing the challenges faced by the housing sector. Some of the laws include; establishment of housing funds to help in reducing the cost of construction hence low cost of housing, the ministry has reviewed the building laws of 1968, as it was viewed as being inconsistent and outdated with the constitution. The reviewed laws provide strict penalty and sanctions for any persons found liable for the collapsing of any building.
The country’s building stock had been neglected due to the poor maintenance culture and both the public and residential buildings are the most affected. To curb this, the ministry has finalized the maintenance policy whereby all buildings are to be inspected in every 5 years.
The Kenyan urban areas experiences a demand of 250,000 housing units per annum and a provision of 50,000 per annum, a low number because a 250,000 deficit has been left per annum. Nevertheless, 922 housing units have been completed in Kibera zone and the ministry will commence construction of over 8,000 units under Civil Servants Housing Scheme.
Interested developers such as the World Bank, UN Habitat, SIDA, AFD and Shelter Afrique have come on board to help settle the lack of adequate social infrastructure in the housing sector. Their hard work bore fruits as there has been a rapid growth in the number of schools, markets , roads , lighting programs, sewer lines and dwelling houses hence changing the lives of many Kenyans.
The National Housing Corporation, a state corporation under the ministry of land is charged with implementation of the Housing policy. It is expected to provide low cost housing and social housing .its board has targeted to construct 30,000 housing units by 2017.
SOURCE: Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development