• April 16, 2024
  • Last Update April 16, 2024 5:48 PM
  • Nairobi

Ruto set to sign Affordable Housing Bill into law

Politics

By Peter Ochieng

It is all systems go for the signing of the Affordable Housing Bill, 2023 into law.

President William Ruto, speaking in Bomet county on Saturday said he will ascent to the Bill on Monday, in a brief ceremony at State House, Nairobi, expected to be attended by among others, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula and Attorney General, Justin Beda Muturi.

“On Monday I will sign the bill because we are in agreement with the court on issues on housing. We want to make sure that we do that which is going to change our country,” stated the Head of State.

The National Assembly passed the Bill with amendments in February, before the Senate followed suit last week.

The Bill establishes the Affordable Housing Fund, which will be financed through a 1.5 percent housing levy on gross salaries. This levy, previously challenged in court, has been reintroduced through the amendments to address concerns. 

Clause 2 of the Bill introduces “institutional housing” for public institutions like universities, hospitals, and security forces expanding the scope of the program beyond individual homes. 

In addition, the Bill provides for the management of the Affordable Housing Fund specifically the payment out of the Fund. The payments shall include 30 percent to the National Housing Corporation; 30 percent to slum upgrading, maintenance, rehabilitation and off-take of affordable housing programs, and 36 percent to the State Department responsible for matters relating to affordable housing in respect of institutional housing programs and projects approved by Cabinet. 

Local business owners in the construction industry are set to benefit as the amended Bill contains provisions that encourage the use of local materials and labour, and provides opportunities for students to gain practical experience in projects.  

In response to stakeholder concerns about the levy, Clause 7 of the Bill clarifies that levies collected under the Bill will be recoverable in accordance with the Tax Procedures Act, 2015. 

To enhance transparency, the allocation of funds from the Affordable Housing Fund will be subject to a five-year and annual investment program, with clear guidelines for agencies involved as included in Clause 11A and 11B. 

Regarding implementation of the Housing programs, the revised Bill lays out clear procedures for collaboration with National and county governments, private institutions, and financial institutions for project development and mortgage schemes.

“Housing is going to give us jobs for our young people, give us decent living conditions for our people, is going to assist us in making sure that we have land for food production and is also going to make sure that we grow our manufacturing sector,” said Ruto.

He noted that the affordable housing project will not only provide employment opportunities for young people in the country but also ensure there is sufficient land available for agriculture and food production.

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