Housing bill public hearing to involve 19 counties

Housing bill public hearing to involve 19 counties

The National Assembly is set to commence public hearings on the Affordable Housing Bill, 2023 next week.

The House through the Departmental Committees on Finance and National Planning and that on Housing bill, Urban Planning, and Public Works have lined up public meetings to jointly collect views from the public on the Bill across nineteen counties, starting January 17, 2024.

This activity is to take place for two weeks.

These planned hearings will see the legislators visit counties like Narok, Embu, Kisii, Kirinyaga, Homabay, Kiambu, Vihiga, Machakos, Uasin Ngishu, and Turkana.

Other devolved units where lawmakers will collect views include Baringo, Nairobi, Wajir, Nakuru, Nyandarua, Tana River, Kilifi, Nairobi, and Mombasa Counties.

The Affordable Housing Bill 2023 has already undergone the First Reading.

The Bill was initiated out of the need to create a comprehensive framework for the affordable Housing Program following a High Court order that declared the housing levy unconstitutional.

The Affordable Housing Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 75 of 2023) sponsored by Kimani Ichung’wah, the Leader of the Majority Party, seeks to provide a legal framework for the establishment of the Affordable Housing Fund, access to affordable housing and to give effect to Article 43(1)(b) of the Constitution which gives the right to accessible and adequate housing.

The Bill further seeks to impose the Affordable Housing Levy to finance the provision of affordable housing and associated social and physical infrastructure.

In anticipation of the scheduled public hearings, Ichungw’a sought to clarify the public hearings following a recent court order that had halted the public participation process in a manner prescribed in an earlier advertisement in the dailies.

The advertisement had requested the public to send their written submissions as opposed to the current methodology where lawmakers will directly go to the public to seek their views on the Bill.

The High Court sitting in Kisumu had last month issued conservatory orders stopping public participation in the Bill in the manner prescribed in the advertisement then, until the matter is determined.

The orders were issued after litigants moved to court shortly after the two House Committees in a notice published in the dailies on December 9, 2023, invited the public and stakeholders to submit memoranda on the Bill.

Ichung’wah noted that the orders by the High Court only apply in respect of the conduct of public participation in the manner indicated in the public participation advert issued on December 9, 2023, on submission of memoranda but they did not entirely halt the public participation process.

“The orders did not prohibit Parliament from conducting any other form of public participation including undertaking public hearings across the country on the Bill, or the ordinary stakeholder engagements with key sectors, experts, workers, employers, informal sector, political parties, civil society and marginalized communities etc,” he observed


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