Capital FM (Nairobi)

16 January 2013

Kenya: Mbaru to Spur Housing Sector in Nairobi

Nairobi — Nairobi gubernatorial aspirant Jimnah Mbaru has vowed to make Nairobi the business capital of Africa if he's elected the city's first governor by implementing an initiative to build half a million low cost houses, while adding Sh3 billion to the economy through employment.

Mbaru revealed that he wants to construct the houses on over 2,000 acres of council land that is currently unoccupied with a mix of studio apartments, single and double roomed units for between Sh2,500 and Sh4,500 per month.

"Nairobi is well positioned to be the true business capital for Africa. We have a good location, good climates and the distances from Nairobi to South Africa, West Africa, North Africa and Dubai are pretty much the same; about 3.5 hours," he said.

"I think the important thing is to understand that to gain such capital, you have to think very hard about the infrastructure required," he added.

He said that the selection process of tenants would rely on market forces and those able to buy and rent the houses, along with housing assistance schemes supported by the county.

He explained that the Sh50 billion development initiative will be funded via the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) through the issuance of municipal bonds to private sector real estate companies and other investment groups.

"We intend to introduce what we call "Real Estate Investment Trusts" (REITS), which are pools of houses or lands which are put together and built for rental purposes," he said.

"The rates will then be listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange in order to raise funds for the construction of these houses. We will implement a transparent online bidding procurement system to do away with graft and corruption that exists in the construction sector and remove unnecessary bureaucracy to ensure development moves forward quickly," he explained.

Mbaru estimated that the new housing developments would create about 20,000 jobs in five years, all linked to the building of the houses and another 15,000 jobs linked directly to building the infrastructure serving these developments.

He noted that as Nairobi grows more efficient and affordable, transport services will evolve as well.

"More than 500 buses, 2000 matatus and two to three possible commuter rail systems within Nairobi will be required over the next five to 10 years," he said.

"Much of this public sector transport systems can be built and operated via public-private partnerships and paid for in part by profits that the Nairobi county would generate from municipal bonds and REITS," he explained.

Mbaru emphasised the need for Nairobi residents to entrust a serious leader with the prerequisite skills and experience to lead the county in the future.

"We cannot give this job to just anyone. I believe that the people of Nairobi need a leader who delivers results - a leader who is focused on solving the problems that we all face each day," he said.

He also announced that upon receiving the TNA nomination, he intends to immediately launch a campaign to find a young Nairobi resident to become his running mate as deputy governor.

"The candidate will be selected by the youth of Nairobi and the only qualification is that they are under 35 years of age and have lived in Nairobi for more than five years," he said.

He added that he intends to also create a position of youth governor, which will be occupied by a young person who will listen to the problems, needs and challenges of the youth and directly communicate the issues to the Governor.

"The youth governor will be able to ensure that what we intend to do for the youth will be done," he said.

"I promise the youth of this country that the youth governor will be the vehicle through which they will be able to get all their views to reach the governor without any hindrance," he explained.

The process to vote in the youth governor will consist of a voting session to decide a candidate and those who receive the most votes will be narrowed down to top 10 and eventually top 3 over a two week period.

Mbaru explained that from the top three candidates, he will select his running mate who will join him as he presents his papers to the IEBC, before going on the campaign trail in the lead up to the March 4 election.

He added that he intends to create a Youth Advisory Council for the governor, which will be a think tank for purposes of helping the governor address the issues of the young people.

Starting January 21, people can submit their nominations for youth governor on www.jimnahmbaru.co.ke/bestjobinkenya

The former chairman of the NSE also announced that he's received endorsements to be the TNA-Jubilee coalition nominee from the Young Aspirants Association, the Nairobi Matatu Association, the National Council of Women, the Nation Teachers Association and the National Market Traders Association among others.

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