Economist, Brian Wachira on Wednesday, May 31, weighed in on President William Ruto's push for Housing Levy which he noted would be used to build affordable units for Kenyans.
President William Ruto caused widespread condemnation for seeking 3 per cent from employees' gross income and another three per cent from their employers to go towards the housing plan.
According to the Kenya Kwanza government, the Affordable Housing Programme would greatly address the housing deficit in the country, especially in urban areas.
However, Wachira shared options that would save the President politically and still achieve his vision of ensuring that the country addressed the housing crisis in cities.
Wachira explained that three government departments have cash that would be used to either provide an investment guarantee or be used to build the units.
Riding on the earlier statements that had been shared Labour Activist Seth Panyako, Wachira noted that his proposals were far-fetched since similar programmes were already underway.
"It's true that a department like National Social Security Fund (NSSF) was already having an Affordable Housing Programme, and they had been building so many houses like the Nyayo Estate.
"The government should consider empowering NSSF, LAP Trust, Lap Fund and CPF which already have billions of Shillings which are under-utilised by the government and their members," Wachira stated.
The economist noted that NSSF Housing Programme is a government-sponsored initiative that was launched in 2016 and has since delivered over 10,000 housing units across the country.
The NSSF Housing Programme offers a variety of housing options, including apartments, maisonettes, and bungalows. The units are located in prime locations and are fully furnished and equipped.
According to Wachira, President Ruto will achieve much with the NSSF Housing Programme since it offers a variety of financing options to make it easier for Kenyans to own their homes.
"To be eligible for the NSSF Housing Programme, you must be a member of the NSSF and have a minimum of 10 years of contributions. You must also meet the income and creditworthiness requirements.
"Technically, all employed Kenyans by virtue of being members of the scheme, are qualified to seek to own the houses," Wachira explained.
The expert also advised the President to consider using billions of shillings in LAPFUND, which is a defined contribution retirement scheme catering to employees of the County Governments, to provide affordable units for those in the devolved units.
He explained that Members of County Assemblies and associated institutions like Water & Sewage Companies will be very much ready to take up the programme since they live within the villages where they would like to build homes.
"As part of the funding opportunity, the President could consider setting up a pension backed Mortgage, which allows members to access their retirement savings to finance the purchase of a home," Wachira suggested.
The Economist also suggested that the Head of State could consider using the over Ksh30 billion available in Lap Trust Kenya which is a state corporation established to provide services to 100,000 members.
"If you are an employee of the current or past local authority in Kenya, you may be eligible to join Lap Trust Kenya. It means that President Ruto will be providing housing opportunities for more than 100,000 people Lap Trust alone," Wachira stated.
Wachira also explained the the Kenya Kwanza administration could consider working closely with CPF Kenya to fund the Affordable Housing Project under an agreed arrangement.
"The whole point is, Housing Programme offers affordable housing to Kenyans. The prices of the units are subsidized by the government, making them more accessible to Kenyans of all income levels.
"Which means that the easiest route to achieving that is by engaging the institutions that already have that money and the people who are most desperate to have the units," Wachira stated.