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Government to provide land in Sh2.6 trillion housing project

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The government has identified over 7, 000 acres of land where one million houses will be built at a cost of Ksh 2.6 trillion.

Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said land accounts for about 30% of the building cost and the moment it is addressed, the cost of housing will come down.

“We have identified over 7, 000 acres dotted across the country with Nairobi being the biggest chunk though we have the other major cities  such as Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret and even other counties,” he explained.

According to Macharia this is the most ambitious project ever undertaken in this country, estimated to cost Ksh 2.6 trillion, which is about two and a half times more than the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) owing to the impact it will have on the people of this country.

“We are targeting all the 47 counties to meet the national shortfall of 1.6 million houses and the project will have a bigger impact than SGR which covers around 17 counties, but this one will be felt across the whole country,” said Macharia.

The CS, speaking on Wednesday during the launch of the Kenya Building Research Centre, said the housing project which is among the Big Four agenda for the government, will impact other sectors for instance manufacturing, as it will create a lot of jobs because  of producing certain building materials locally.

“The initial estimate is that we shall be creating 750, 000 jobs leave alone the spillover that will come along,” said the CS.

“Already we have companies such as China Wu-Yi who have established a company in Athi River to produce building materials of the highest standard,” he added.

The CS said that the housing project will also impact on the health of the people, as they will live in better and hygienic houses reducing the exposure to disease and infections.

“We will improve food security where people need to store food in a clean environment to avoid contaminations such as aflatoxin,” said Macharia.

He explained that interest in the project was massive noting that having sent out expression of interest, more than 70 companies have expressed interest.

Housing and Urban Development Principal Secretary Charles Hinga said the housing requirement per year is 200, 000 units but currently the country is  behind in meeting the demand.

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He added that out of the one million houses, 200, 000 will be done under the slum upgrading programme.

“We are going to have a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model which will include a land swap where a private developer identifies prime land owned by the government somewhere in Nairobi and instead of paying the government for that land they are given a certain slum to upgrade,” he explained.

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