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Investment sacco eyes housing pie in counties

Steve Umidha @steveumidha

Safaricom Investment Cooperative (SIC) has moved to tap the huge potential in  the country’s housing sector as the State seeks to rev up affordable housing schemes for citizens under the Big Four agenda.

Marketing officer Gloria Chebet yesterday said the firm will partner with county governments to put up affordable houses adding that it has increased its investment in the residential real estate for its upcoming projects.

The government plans to put up between 500,000 and a million housing units in the next three years to meet the deficit in the sector.

“We are already in talks with Kisumu, Uasin Gishu, Mombasa, Malindi and Kwale counties for the development of  affordable residential housing units,” said Chebet, adding that the firm will also be looking for investment opportunities in other counties whose housing sectors are less vibrant compared to Nairobi and its environs.

Affordable housing is one of the Big Four agenda of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration. Others include manufacturing, food security and universal healthcare.

“It is something the government is keen to achieve and we believe our projects and those in the pipeline can help bridge that gap by providing housing units,” she said during the  launch of Athi River Lemayan land project in Machakos county.

In the 2017/18 budget, the government offered incentives to property developers putting up at least 1,000 low-cost housing units would be eligible for a tax break and would pay corporate tax at a rate of 20 per cent.

In July, President Uhuru signed into law a bill creating a 15 per cent tax relief for Kenyans buying houses under the Affordable Housing Scheme, with the tax respite, however not supposed to exceed Sh108,000 per annum as set in the Income Tax Act.

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