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How Treasury has denied Nairobians decent housing

Nairobi County has been unable to kick off an ambitious 23,000 housing units project in the city owing to a Sh 100 billion debt that the National Treasury has not been able to pay.

The county has targeted a number of estates for upgrade in a bid to increase the number of houses available for the bulging population in the city, but the construction of the units will require about Sh120 billion, according to Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero.

The governor said the county government is owed a total Sh106 billion for various services offered before and after the devolved system came in.

Appearing before the Senate Committee on Transport to respond to questions over the housing project, Dr Kidero said if they were paid the money they would be able to commence the construction of the units without getting a bank loan.

“We will be able to do this without getting a commercial loan and if we were to get this money we will not have any problem. The interest rates on loans are really high now,” Dr Kidero said.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

According to the estimations by the county, the city’s population will be up from 4 million this year to 14 million in 2050 making it necessary to establish more housing units in anticipation of the rising number of residents.

The estates that the county government eyes for the construction of new units are Pangani, Ngara, Uhuru, Woodley and Ngong Road.

The governor told the committee that the units will made affordable so that most residents would be able to buy.

“Our objective is to make the houses affordable as possible. We will put a selling cap so that people do not buy cheaply and then sell in order to make profits,” said Dr Kidero.

Committee members asked him to push the Treasury to settle the debt in order to enable them to kick-start the project they termed was timely saying it would help solve the housing crisis in the capital city.

“The government cannot pay without being pushed. You should push them to pay you otherwise you will never get the money,” said Committee Chairman Abu Chaiba, also Lamu Senator.