Moiben MP Prof. Phyllis Bartoo. She attended the committee’s hearing session
Residents of Uasin Gishu Couty have urged lawmakers to consider incorporating a provision for a tribunal to address any issues that may emanate from the transactions of the affordable housing project.
The residents who lauded the program for creating job opportunities in the county, were speaking during the fifth day of public hearings on the Affordable Housing Bill conducted at the Eldoret County Hall.
Noting that there might arise disputes, Mr. Nicholas Tarira a lawyer, but who is currently in carpentry business, observed that with the ongoing civic education, there might be an oversubscription on the housing units, locking some of those who have registered and paid deposits out.
He further noted that there might arise other disputes concerning contractors who deliver housing units with defaults, hence disenfranchising the buyers.
At the same time, the residents sought clarification on the role of County Governments in the implementation of the Programme. Speaking during the opening session, Uasin Gishu Governor told the Committee that there is need to agree with the counties on the role of the devolved units in the programme and how the units would benefit from it.
“Chair, the County Government welcomes the implementation of this program. We are happy because it is going to help us meet the shortfall of housing units, which has been created by the anticipated ascession of Eldoret Town to City Status. We however would wish to know how the county government will benefit after surrendering land to the affordable housing project”, he told the Members.
His sentiments were echoed by County Executive Member for Lands, Housing, Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Janet Kosgey who sought to know how the sectional property housing rate will be managed. She also observed that there would be need to create a legal framework outlining how the devolved units would partner with the State Department of Housing on joint expansion of services such as water and sewerage.
Some residents also sought that the law incorporates provisions on green housing and adoption of latest building technologies during the hearings that were also attended by the Deputy Governor, Eng. John Barorot and Uasin Gishu County MPs Gladys Boss ( Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and CWR), Prof. Phylis Bartoo (Moiben), David Kiplagat (Soy) and Janet Sitienei (Turbo).
While thanking the Committee for having elected to conduct the hearings in the county, the lawmakers led by the Deputy Speaker underscored the essence of the public hearings on the Bill. She noted that the government has a role in facilitating housing in line with Article 43(1)(b) of the Constitution which provides that, ‘every person has the right to accessible and adequate housing, and to reasonable standards of sanitation.
On his part, the Chairperson of the Departmental Committee on Financial and National Planning Kuria Kimani (Molo) sought to clarify that those charged the housing levy would not be automatic owners of the housing units. This is after a number of residents sought to know if those charged the housing levy would be prioritized in the allocation of houses.
“There is no relationship between the housing levy and the affordable housing program. The fact that you’re deducted 1.5 per cent of your gross pay does not guarantee you house ownership. You have to register and pay a deposit to get allocated a house because the levy is just like any other tax that the government charges you”, he told the residents.
Other matters that arose include inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the program, capacity building for artisans involved in the program and the reconsideration of the payable deposits for the housing units.
The Committee is set to conduct public hearings at the Kenya School of Government in Kabarnet, Baringo County, on Tuesday 23rd January.