Housing PS Hinga Calls For ‘Idle Land’ Tax To Create Space For Development Projects
Housing Principal Secretary Charles Hinga.
Housing Principal Secretary Charles Hinga has called for a serious land conversation among all stakeholders to free up land for development projects.
Speaking in Naivasha during the induction retreat for the Senate Committee on Roads, Transport and Housing, PS Hinga said the price of land in Nairobi County is rated among the most expensive in the World mostly because people are holding land.
He called for the introduction of idle land tax where individuals with land which has remained undeveloped for long are subjected to pay tax for the same.
PS Hinga further said it’s unfortunate that prisons were built in the heart of most towns thereby curtailing growth and expansion.
He said a conversation has commenced with a view of moving prison facilities out of urban centers so that the huge tracts of land they occupy can be made available for the affordable housing program.
The PS Hinga has also urged Kenya Railways to cede land they aren’t using for the affordable housing program.
He said the ongoing program seeks to reduce the mushrooming of informal settlements and ensure Kenyans have access to decent, affordable and adequate housing.
He said a majority of Kenyans live in places without basic services and lack proper sanitation, adding that 92% of people in Nairobi, rent houses because they can’t afford to buy.
Through the affordable housing program, the Government has decided to make land available at no cost to Kenyans who need houses. This the PS said will increase the number of people servicing mortgages to 1 million from the current 30,000 while paying favourable affordable ownership terms of monthly payments of as low as Ksh.5,000.
He said the affordable housing program will also go a long way in promoting economic recovery by linking MSMEs and Jua Kali sector to these projects and at the same time generate jobs for the youths.
At the moment 5 affordable housing projects are ongoing across the Country, translating to an estimated 26,788 housing units.
The PS revealed that another 3 projects will be launched within the next two months in Makongeni, Starehe and Thika and will avail another 50,000 housing units.
At the same time, construction of 850 housing units for the disciplined forces is ongoing in Bungoma, Kajiado, Bondo, Thika, Chuka, Langas among other areas and the units are now at 70% complete.