Developers warn State over tax hikes on affordable housing plan

Property developers of mega housing projects have decried the rising cost of building materials, saying it could make realization of affordable housing impossible.

Safaricom Investment Co-operative chairman Peter Gichangi said that the government should cushion developers from high increases in the cost of inputs such as steel and cement among others to enable them undertake construction of cheaper houses and give them out at an affordable rate to customers.

He said while developers are committed to supporting the government in its ambition to release over 200,000 housing units per year at an affordable rate, it should on its part look into how much they are taxing players in the construction sector.

“A review of taxes on construction materials is paramount if the government is to see through the affordable housing plan which seeks to have 250,000 units constructed,” Gichangi stated.

President William Ruto has pledged to ensure an annual increase in housing with a yearly supply of 250,000 units through public-private partnerships.

Gichangi said the housing sector also faces a major challenge in approvals since there is a lot of documentation required which cannot be accessed at a central point.

“For the government to succeed in affordable housing they need to enable various things like approvals. If this were to be done, as some proposals have been made that there should be a one stop shop for everything, that would simplify the process which takes unknown time to be completed,” he said.

Gichanga cited Kiambu as one county government that has no full plan on supplying clean and safe drinking water to mega housing projects which prompts developers to dig boreholes.

By Felix Wanderi

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