January 25, 2019 by Joseph Ng’ang’a
The Government’s Big Four agenda on housing has received a major boost after the launch of a new app which seeks to bring together all the players in the construction industry and ensure Kenyans have access to affordable housing.
Speaking on Friday, January 25, 2019 during the launch of the app dubbed Ibuild, Information, Communications and Technology(ICT) Cabinet Secretary (CS) Joe Mucheru said that the government supports the development of technology solutions, which reduce the cost of doing business andcreate job opportunities in the country.
“Since independence we have only 500, 000 home owners in Kenya and unless something drastic is done –like the launch of this app- the country is moving on a very wrong direction,” said theCS.
Mucheru said that, mortgage statistics is how that out of about 45 million Kenyans, only half, about 25, 000 mortgages out of which 18, 000 are from bank employees.
“To tackle the housing problem,within the next three years the government will invest Shs.2.3 trillion almost the annual budget on housing alone and the big Four Agenda itself is about Shs.7.5 trillion. The great thing is that with this app things can move faster because absorption is usually the biggest challenge that we have,” explained Mucheru.
He added that, when the Jubilee government came to power, power connection policy changed to allow for power connectivity to every household regardless of nature of the structure of the house. He observed that through the last mile project the government has been able to improve the number of Kenyans connected to electricity from two millionto seven million households.
“If tomorrow everyone downloads this app we will be able to know how many plumbers we have in this country maybe all the way to the Wards level and the moment the contractor goes on site somewhere they can get all the skilled manpower they requires,” explained the CS.
The CS lauded the development of the app saying it will bring together all sectors of the construction industry.
The CS said that, to improve the rate of coming up with new innovations in the country, the government, under the Ajira digital program has put up 96 Constituency Innovation Hubs (CIH) where the youth get free WI-FI and training on how to work online and create news app’s. He added that the aims is to develop 1, 160 of CIH centers across the country.
Ibuild global solutions board chairman Lew Schulman said “The Ibuild app provide a list of building materials from different suppliers and varied prices giving Kenyans a wide variety of choice”. He added that the app has the “Iwallet which makes payment to workers easy and is able to track payments from the client to thecontractor to the suppliers thus curbing diversion of funds,” said Schulman.