By E N
HOUSING FUND IS THE NEXT MEGA SCANDAL
Most of the mega scandals have occurred in the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development. From roads costing KShs 1 billion per km to SGR to the proposed expressways, BRTs that never were, Kenya Airways, KAA scandals, old trains from Spain etc.
Now the next mega scandal is cooking in the name of the housing fund.
Can this Ministry account for over KShs 100 billion collected under the Railway Development Fund before it starts talking about Housing Fund?
The problem with Jubilee projects is that on the face of it the intentions are good and popular e.g. affordable housing. Beneath these projects are shadowy tenderpreneurs with looting as their only motive.
Cost of land accounts for 30% of housing costs after many years of senseless land speculation. One way of lowering cost of housing would involve government providing free and serviced land to developers provided the final price of the houses is fixed at pre-agreed rates.
Government could also set up a housing loan scheme in which they can finance developers at below market rates provided they have a way of ensuring these benefits reach house buyers.
The government should also lower taxes on construction materials or eradicate them altogether. They should also promote low cost construction material.
Another thing would be to open up settlement areas along the SGR in places like Athi River and Naivasha. These would then be connected to Nairobi via high speed commuter railway. This would remove the settlement pressure around Nairobi because you can live anywhere within 100km radius from Nairobi CBD.
Kenyans should know that housing is a devolved function. One wonders if the national government has fulfilled all its mandate before encroaching on county government functions. This generosity is highly suspect. The next mega scandal is loading.