East African Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) is seeking to partner with the government in a real estate deal after the company failed to secure approval to dispose off part of their land last year.
The company’s chief operating officer Albert Sigei informed Lands Cabinet Secretary Prof Jacob Kaimenyi this week of the company’s interest in partnering with government to build low cost housing-units on its vast properties located in Athi River.
Last year, the government rejected a proposal by EAPCC to sell 1,300 acres of land it has exhausted mining raw materials from in Athi River.
EAPCC is jointly owned by the National Social Security fund (NSSF), the government and French cement conglomerate Lafarge.
Kephar Tande, the company’s managing director had said thata big portion of the EAPCC land in Machakos County, Athi River and parts of Kitengela in Kajiado County could be utilized to put up homes and industries or rehabilitated into forests but the government refused to take up the deal.
Mr Sigei was economical on details about the proposed deal and said he was not willing to comment about it when approached for clarification.
In the same breath, CS Kaimenyi urged private developers to consider setting up low-cost housing units that are affordable by the middle and low income earners.
“Seventy five per cent of all workers including the public sector earn less than Sh25,000. If you talk about a 3 bedroom house of over Sh6 million even if you give them a loan, is it affordable?” CS Kaimenyi posed.
The CS advised developers to develop community-based products that could be priced below Sh1 million to accommodate the 66.2 per cent of the urban population who depend on rental homes.
He added that the government had plans to provide incentives including centralizing documentation-issue center for developers and cut down on levies charged by National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and National Construction Authority (NCA),
During the State of the Nation address, the president called for an immediate review of the levies charged by NEMA and NCA, saying they are prohibitive.
NCA charges 0.5 per cent of a project’s cost for environmental audits while the NEMA has a 0.1per cent levy to run its operations.