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A memorandum of understanding signed between the National Government and the County Government will result in 10,000 housing units being constructed in Nyandarua over the next five years, His Excellency Governor Francis Kimemia has said.

Speaking after signing the MoU on the sidelines of the Fifth Annual Devolution Conference in Kakamega today, Governor Kimemia said 2,000 units will be constructed across the County each year.

“Ol’Kalou, Njabini, Engineer, Ndaragwa, Mairo-Inya, Miharati and Ol’Joro-orok are among towns in our County that will benefit from this programme. The idea is to give major towns in each Sub-County an urban feel,” said the County head.

According to his manifesto, 36 per cent of Nyandarua’s houses have mud walls.

Affordable housing is a requirement under Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Constitution of Kenya (2010), Vision 2030 and His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda, among other national and international instruments.

“My Government is committed to lower the costs of building a home in our County, attract appropriate technologies and provide the infrastructure we all will need to make Nyandarua great again,” said Governor Kimemia.

Under the MoU, Nyandarua will benefit from additional support towards urban planning, skills transfer, and attraction of investors, infrastructure and urban development.

Affordable housing will benefit residents within the Kshs. 15,000 – 50,000 bracket, while social housing will be for those within the Kshs. 0-15,000 bracket.

A joint technical committee, comprising three members from each side, will be formed to implement the MoU.

Governor Kimemia said his administration has prioritized urban development because towns are engines of development.

“They serve as administrative centres, security provision centres, as well as main social and cultural delivery points,” he said.

In the past 10 years, there has been increased movement of goods and people from Nyandarua’s rural areas to its few urban centres.

The influx has put most of the urban areas and their facilities under pressure to cope with high population growth, resulting in overused and congested facilities.

Governor Kimemia said lack of zoning and regulation guidelines, encroachment on public utilities as well as increased uneconomical land subdivisions has left the County’s urban centres unable to attract sustainable investments in housing, light industries and other commercial activities.

“Therefore, any support in ensuring that our urban centres expand through well-coordinated planning is most welcome,” he said.

County Executive Member in charge of Lands, Housing, Physical Planning and Urban Development, Hon. Lawrence Mukundi said in addition to solid waste management systems, identified towns will also benefit from such revenue enablers as bus parks and fire-fighting equipment.

“We have gotten here not because Nyandarua has been favoured, but owing to our compliance with requirements of participating in the Kenya Urban Support Program,” he said.

The program aims to assist the County Government to establish and strengthen its urban institutions to deliver improved infrastructure and services for residents with the support of the World Bank, Council of Governors and the Urban Development Department in the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development.

In meeting requirements of the programme, the County Government has so far signed the Participation Agreement and prepared a draft County Urban Institutional Development Strategy to the Ministry, which was included in the second County Integrated Development Plan (2018-2022) for approval by the County Assembly.

The National Housing Corporation and Nyandarua have also previously engaged each other, and a pre-feasibility study towards housing in Ol’Kalou done in March 2017.

Unlike other major towns in Kenya, Ol’Kalou is still building its infrastructure, with most County Government staff members currently residing in neighbouring counties.

Present during the function were Senator Hon. Mwangi Githiomi and County Executive Committee members Hon. (Eng.) Mbataru Kariuki (Public Administration and ICT) and Hon. (Eng.) Stephen Mbugua (Transport, Public Works and Energy).

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