The National Construction Authority has called for the collapsing of processes in order to ease the procedure of doing business in the construction industry.
Speaking at a media stakeholder’s breakfast at the Intercontinental Hotel, NCA Executive Director Dr. Daniel Manduku sought the support of the Chief Guest Mr. Charles Hinga, who has just assumed the office of the Principal Secretary, State Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“There is need to push for radical legislation in order to collapse the numerous procedures within the industry,” he said. “In Kenya, it takes 159 days to obtain construction permits, compared to the world standard of 27 days. If we are to become competitive as a market and derive maximum value for all our stakeholders, this must change.”
NCA Chairman Steven Oundo, OGW, stated it was time for a review of the Physical Planning Act in order to ensure we can improve Kenya’s global ranking. “A single window system whereby we consolidate all fees that are payable to the various agencies as well as the necessary approvals is the key to progress. Thus, any stakeholder within the construction value chain only has to apply for the process at one go, saving on time and ultimately money.”
PS Mwaura, in his first public address since taking office, pledged his full support for the Authority and said his leadership style would be bold and transparent. “The fact that we have so many redundant processes means we are basically scoring own goals as an industry. The one-stop shop is not a far-off reality-we can do it, and we will do it; this is non-negotiable. This is an absolute top priority for my office. Huduma Centres are already a testament to the power of inter-agency co-operation.”
The PS has also laid out a 100 day plan that includes interactions with stakeholders in various forums towards laying a solid foundation for his term in office. “Kenyans have been involved in transforming cities all over the world. Nairobi has the best Mass Rapid Transit system, but only on paper. We cannot allow this to continue; it is a great disservice to our country. Public servants must be held accountable.”
Mr. Mwaura also spoke about the half a million housing plan, which fall’s under the government’s Big Four agenda. “Housing is not just about a literal roof over your head, it is about human settlement and dignity. We are building new resilient cities, to allow every Kenyan to live a maximum of 45 minutes away from their place of work. Take the Mavoko housing scheme, for example. We must coordinate with other government agencies to ensure that we develop economic activities in the area, so that the residents don’t have to traverse the city to get to their place of work.”
The PS admitted that funding the 2.6 trillion project is a challenge. “The financing of the housing projects will come from private capital. Land in Nairobi is the most expensive in Africa, and that is unfortunate. As a government, we will provide the land and seek for investors to finance construction. This will be an industry led initiative, and we want to work with the business community to realize affordable housing.”
Also present was National Building Inspectorate Secretary (NBI) Qs. Moses Nyakiongora, who appreciated the Authority for its support over the years. NBI is preparing to undertake demolitions of several illegal structures under high voltage power lines as well as along railway lines and pipelines.