Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria, on Wednesday, June 8, clarified that all 47 Governors will take centre stage in the delivery and management of the Affordable Housing programme.
During an interview with Citizen TV, Kuria claimed there was a growing misconception that the project was a national government initiative.
In a new twist, he disclosed that the 47 county bosses would have overall ownership of the project with the national government, whose mandate was to provide investors with free public land.
Kuria insisted that the housing programme was not a slum upgrading project as perceived, even though it aims to provide decent, affordable houses to individuals below the poverty line.
“There is no confusion there. What we have is an Affordable Housing program.
“In my opinion, this conversation is missing the point. The government does not own it,” he remarked.
Pushed to explain who then owned the program, touted as Ruto’s legacy project, he stated, “It is going to be implemented in the counties with our 47 governors as the owners.”
To support his sentiments, he explained that all 47 county bosses had earmarked land for affordable housing irrespective of political affiliation.
“This is a project that will be launched in all counties and not a slum upgrading project since we do not have slums in all counties,” he added.
Kuria was also tasked to explain why the national government was drumming support for the project, even though it was under the purview of the governors.
“Ask the governors if they do not want houses in their counties. We have industrial parks in counties, and the governors are vocal about it because you (media) probe them,” the CS defended himself.
The affordable housing programme was part of President William Ruto’s manifesto, where he envisioned building 1 million housing units in his first term in office.
“This transformative plan goes beyond the provision of affordable housing units to presenting opportunities for gainful employment and wealth creation to millions of Kenyans struggling to put food on the table,” the President noted when December 7, 2022.
After assuming office, Ruto proposed that employed Kenyans be deducted 3 per cent monthly to fund the project, which sparked a nationwide uproar.
Members of Parliament will debate and vote for or against the Finance Bill 2023 - which comprises the housing levy - on Thursday, June 8, a week before the 2023/24 budget is presented.