President William Ruto is now mulling building affordable houses on Kenya Broadcasting Corporation‘s (KBC) large swathes of land to boost his Affordable Housing legacy project.
While appearing on Citizen TV on Sunday, ICT CS Eliud Owalo explained that the State was pursuing a deal that would allow private investors to enter into a public-private partnership with the struggling broadcaster.
He further noted that the partnership will help the broadcaster, which has been reeling under a mountain of debt, utilise its assets for profitability.
“Does it make sense to be in control of colossal land in the name of KBC while the organisation is struggling financially? We are exploring ways through which we could commercialise some of those properties by way of public-private partnership,” explained Owalo.
A photo collage of President William Ruto speaking in Embu on June 1, 2023 (left) and houses undertaken under the affordable housing programme in Embu County (right).
“If, for example, we have got a housing investor who wants to put up low-cost housing which is a major government programme and KBC has got idle land, we can get into a joint venture by way of public-private partnership for mutual benefit. Those are some of the options we are pursuing.”
Owalo also disclosed that he had given his ministry firm instructions to hold fresh valuations of all parcels owned by KBC to pave the way for fresh leases under prevailing market rates.
He revealed that for years, some of the station’s employees have been working in cahoots with unscrupulous business people who lease out the parcels at a fraction of the land’s value.
For instance, a parcel valued at Ksh1 million is leased out at Ksh50,000 and the difference is shared by the accomplice parties.
“I have made sure since coming into office that we are not going to have revenue leakages at KBC. One of the avenues that has been a cash cow for KBC is the issue of land, everybody has been targeting KBC land,” he added.
“I’ve ordered that we are going to have a proper valuation of all assets of KBC and if we are to lease out any property then those properties have to be leased out at prevailing market rates.”
Five years ago, the state demolished houses and churches constructed on the station’s parcel located along Kangundo Road in Nairobi.
On Sunday, the Head of State assured the public that he was unrelenting in pursuing the Affordable Housing project and projected that in a few months, it would create up to 1 million jobs for the Kenyan youth.
“I will stand firm in creating job opportunities. Few people who have jobs, rush to court to stop our projects,” the President stated during the Uasin Gishu church service.
As of November 2023, the State indicated that the legacy project had since created 120,000 jobs.
A photo of ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo.