President Uhuru Kenyatta Friday launched the Habitat Heights, one of the projects of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) that will see the delivery of 8,888 affordable housing units to Kenyans when complete.
Habitat Height is the first project developed under the Memorandum of Understanding between the State Department for Housing and Urban Development and UNOPs in September 2018 to develop 100,000 housing units.
The project is being undertaken by AFRA Holdings Limited through its local subsidiary Singapura Developers LTD (Kenya) in conjunction with Housing Finance.
President Kenyatta said the project will inject an estimated 5 billion dollars into the economy an affirmation that Kenya is a worthwhile, secure and facilitative destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
“This is a happy moment for me. I say so because, for the past one and a half years, we have been working diligently to formulate an implementation plan to usher Kenya into an era of affordable and decent housing and, indeed, I see the light at the end of the tunnel,” President Kenyatta said.
“The delivery of the houses promoted under the Affordable Housing Programme initiative demonstrates the government’s commitment to delivering affordable housing which is one of the Big 4 Agenda priority areas,” Uhuru said.
To further enhance affordability, the government has been working with various stakeholders to identify suitable tax incentives that would have a positive impact on the cost of construction.
“Through the Finance Act 2019, we have provided VAT exemptions for all inputs in affordable housing development schemes. We have also continued to provide a 15% corporate tax rate for developers with projects producing at least 100 affordable housing units; which is half the normal corporation tax rate,” the President said.
President Kenyatta also announced that first-time homeowners will be exempted from paying stamp duty under the affordable housing arrangement.
“We have also waived NEMA and National Construction Authority fees on constructions, and we are seeing various counties the following suit by waiving their county government development fees in order to further reduce the cost to ordinary citizens,” the President pointed.
On the progress of several ongoing housing projects, the Head of State said the government will soon be allocating the 1,370 units of the first flagship affordable housing project at Park Road in Nairobi County.
He disclosed that the next flagship projects in Shauri Moyo and Starehe in Nairobi will break ground in early 2020 and bring onboard another 8,000 units when fully implemented.
“These projects are part of the larger Eastlands Urban Renewal master plan, which will bring online an additional 168,000 units. By replacing the decaying and dilapidated colonial-era units, we will be able to generate modern 177,000 units from the existing 43,000 units,” he said.