Civil Servants in Kisumu cry foul, reject sale price of government houses
The sale of 210 housing units to civil servants in Kisumu County hangs in a balance after the public officers rejected the selling price announced by the government.
The Union of Kenya Civil Servants (UKCS) has advised its members not to bid for the houses constructed under the Civil Servants Housing Scheme (CSHS) until the prices were brought down.
In a letter dated March 20, 2017 and written to the Principal Secretary State Department for Housing and Urban Development, Arch. Aidah Munano, UKCS Kisumu branch officials demanded for a re-evaluation of the houses to reflect market rates.
In a paid up advertisement that appeared in the local daily newspapers in February this year, the Ministry announced sale of the 210 of the 250 housing apartments at Shauri Moyo Estate in Kisumu town, giving the provisional selling price.
The selling price per unit for a three bedroom with master en-suite has been pegged at Shs.6.1 million, two bedrooms at Shs.4.3 million while that of one bedroom goes Shs.2.7 million.
UKCS Kisumu Branch Secretary, Peter Olouch says civil servants in Kisumu County have got a raw deal since at the Ngara Housing Scheme in Nairobi, a three bedroom was sold at Shs.4.3 million when compared to a similar one in Kisumu that has been pegged at Shs.6.1 million.
“House allowance payable in Nairobi is higher than that of Kisumu, so what rationale was used to determine the sale price if the house allowance rate was not apparently taken into account?” the letter reads.
“To prove that the valuation of the housing units was exaggerated, you compare free market rates in Kisumu. At a private estate, Gudka Phase 11, a two bedroomed house with own compound is being sold at Shs.3.5 million, unlike the two bedroomed governments flats being sold at a higher rate of Shs.4.3 million,” UKCS letter notes.
Oluoch says the over-pricing goes against the tenets of the CSHS of putting up affordable and sustainable houses for all civil servants.
The civil servants have also raised concern that they may be disadvantaged since application forms were to be submitted in Nairobi and not Kisumu office.
“It is our hope that majority of successful bidders will be considered from Kisumu in line with upholding the spirit of bringing the housing scheme to Kisumu,” said Olouch.
But when PS Munano visited the project on March 23, she defended the pricing, saying it was arrived at after thorough research based on the market prices.
The PS gave the contractor, who is behind schedule 12 weeks to complete the work.
“The government has spent Shs.730 million to put up the 250 units which must be sold urgently to recover the money.
“This is a commercial project and we cannot afford to joke around with it. The more it delays, the more revenue we lose,” she said.
The National Civil Servants Housing Scheme was launched in 2004 to help civil servants access affordable housing at the same time provide finance to those interested in developing their own houses.
Under the scheme, interested civil servants have up to May 8, 2017 to apply and were required to pay 10% of the sale price and the balance would be payable on a tenant purchase scheme up to a period of 20 years.
She said the scheme has so far benefitted 3, 000 civil servants nationally with over 120 units built.
The scheme, which started in Nairobi’s Ngara Estate, is also earmarked for Machakos, Kiambu, Embu and Nyeri.
By George Kaiga