Mary Mathenge, NACHU CEO
Mary Mathenge, NACHU CEO

Co-op Sector offered board slots at Govt Mortgage agency

By Staff Reporter

The Co-operative sector will have two board members sitting on the newly formed Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company (KMRC).
The National Co-operative Housing Union (NACHU) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mary Mathenge noted the sector had been offered the two slots and that it was happy with the offer so far. Available statistics indicate that co-operatives account for 90 per cent of housing stock in Kenya.
“As a co-operative sector, we are happy with the two slots. What we are now supposed to do is to sit down and identify those who are going to represent us on the 7-member board,” Mathenge told the Sacco Review in an interview at her new NACHU Plaza offices at Upper Hill, in Nairobi.
The Co-operative sector is supposed to play a major role in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda by shouldering 25 per cent of the planned housing provision.
The Government is keen on delivering 500,000 housing units by 2022 to enable more Kenyans own decent and affordable houses. KMRC was incorporated in April this year by the Government as a measure to increase access to affordable credit.
Measures are already in place to reduce the cost of mortgages, cut the cost of construction, and raise low cost funds from private and public sector for investment in large-scale housing construction.
KMRC will make it easier for banks to access long term finance for home loans.
In the 2018/19 budget for example, key allocations towards affordable housing and urban development include Sh1 billion for construction of affordable housing, Sh2 billion for construction of social housing units, Sh1.5 billion for construction of housing for police and Kenya Prisons, and Sh1.5 billion for civil service housing scheme.
Others are Sh2.5 billion for Kisumu city urban programme, Sh4.3 billion for Nairobi metropolitan service and Sh11.7 billion for Kenya Urban programme.
Co-operative housing in Kenya has registered impressive growth under the umbrella organization, the National Co-operative Housing Union (NACHU).
NACHU works with communities to conduct capacity building at the community level and supports the growth of housing cooperatives to improve the lives of the citizens.
Through the recently passed National Assembly Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2017, Housing cooperative societies will now enjoy mortgage tax relief.
In addition to this, the threshold for cooperatives that are developing housing units was lowered to 100 units to qualify for tax concessions
Mathenge noted players in the co-operative sector and the Ministry of Housing have already started meetings and tours related to the sector’s role in delivering its share of the housing units by 2022.
“We have already had meetings along Thika road, Kangundo road, we are to have more in Mavoko and Kitengela within the Nairobi region before moving to other parts of the country,” said Mathenge.
She said there were plans by the public and private sector players to form a consortium to bring the strength of each co-operative to deliver the 25 per cent share of the national housing needs.
“NACHU has the technical capacity; it has special investors it works with while housing co-operatives has the land. Our meetings are meant to strategize on who should contribute what,” added Mathenge.
She urged Saccos and all players in the co-operative sector to warm up to the housing initiative, noting the success of the projects will depend with the contribution of all stakeholders across the country.

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