The reason you cannot afford a house is because of expensive building materials brought about by heavy taxation

expansive-building-materials-in-Kenya-makaobora.jpg

Industry players in the real estate sector want the president to come to their aid to enable them to provide housing faster for Kenyans.

They complained that heavy taxation of building materials by both National and county governments, the lack of tax refunds when they construct public infrastructure within or near their projects are slowing down their efforts to support the government’s Big Four Agenda on housing.

They complained that they are spending their own finances in servicing public access to areas where they are constructing, including provision of electricity, water, and roads. This should be compensated through tax refunds, which Optiven CEO George Wachiuri said is slowing down their projects.

 They also want a one-stop shop for all approvals for paperwork such as land or construction as this would help cut down on timelines. Despite having met the president and presented their grievances, the issues are yet to be addressed, he said.

The government will issue the first phase of affordable houses to Kenyans in September, in a plan that targets provision of 200,000 housing units annually for all income levels.

The government statistics further reveal that the country suffers a housing deficit of more than two million housing units. At the same time, over half of people living in urban areas are housed in slums, at 61 per cent.

The housing crisis is only getting worse, with UN Habitat revealing that two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities by the year 2050.

The UN body further emphasised the importance of well-planned cities to facilitate economic growth and sustainable low-emission development.

“Unplanned urbanisation could generate problems such as pollution, crime, inequality, disease, vulnerability to disaster, lack of affordable housing, and harmful emissions,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres during the inaugural session of the UN-Habitat Assembly recently held in Nairobi.

 

 

This article first appeared in the Star