Kenyans on social media voiced their reservations after Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria announced a Saudi company seeking to invest in the affordable housing plan.
In a statement, Moses Kuria announced that officials from Dubai-based Aldar Properties were in the country to explore possibilities of playing a part in the project.
According to Kuria, Aldar is known for its development capacity across the world and is among several foreign investors attracted to the housing project.
“The ambitious Housing project ongoing in the country continues to attract more investors from across the globe,” the CS stated.
However, the announcement became a talking point for Kenyans who expressed skepticism.
Some of the reactions questioned the need for invloving foreign investors especially after the housing levy imposed by the government through the Finance Act 2023.
What Kenyans Said
An X user under the name Ngugi Maara expressed his confusion stating that the idea was that the housing levy would raise funds for the projects.
According to him, what was left for the government was to look for contractors.
“I don’t get it bwana waziri. We are funding affordable housing through the levy. I expect the project to be fully financed by the Levy,” the user expressed.
His thinking was also shared by a user named James Mwandegu who noted that the push for foreign investors was unclear to him.
“The housing PS Bw. Hinga (Charles) said we have investors ready. The fund will just be a guarantee of capacity to pay. We want to see the houses.”
Another one said: “Where is the use now if investors are being outsourced at this point. Kenya is the new Singapore indeed.”
“Kenyans pay a levy for foreigners to build us houses!! Are there no real estate companies in Kenya?” a user posed.
Housing Fund Questions
But the confusion surrounding the housing projects and levy is not new among Kenya.
In the run up to the passage of the Finance Act in May, Housing Principal Secretary Charles Hinga was put to task to explain the essence of deducting money from Kenyans’ pay slips to raise funds.
At the time, the PS on several occasions took to the media seeking to demystify the nature of the fund and convince Kenyans that it was a noble plan.
Hinga Defends Housing Levy
According to one of his many explanations, Hinga noted that the Housing Levy set at 1.5% of the employee’s salary would help to pool resources to serve as reserves.
This, he explained, would make it easier for Kenya to attract investors and build houses “in mass”.
“Then as a country, we are able to go out there to the market and call investors and tell them to bring their money, build those houses in mass and when they finish building, give us the keys, get paid and go,” the PS explained.
“Even though there is an uproar about the Housing Fund, the truth is we are not bankrupting Kenyans. The collection from everybody is going to give us Sh9 billion a month,” Hinga explained.