NAIROBI, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- Kenya plans to partner with the private sector in order to construct more affordable houses, an official said on Wednesday.
Paul Maringa, principal secretary in the ministry of transport, housing, urban development and infrastructure, told a construction forum in Nairobi that the government wants to make land accessible for the construction of houses using existing law provisions.
"One of the options we are exploring is to do a land swap deal with the private sector in order to build affordable houses," Maringa said during the opening ceremony of the International Construction Research Conference and Exhibition.
The event that runs until Friday will bring together about 7,000 delegates and 220 companies from 30 countries and showcase the latest technology related to housing.
Maringa noted that land is big factor of production in President Uhuru Kenyatta's Big Four Agenda on universal health care, food security, manufacturing and affordable housing.
He noted that the value of land in Kenya has been rising unsustainably in the past decade as investors use land for speculative purposes.
"Private individuals are holding large tracts of land in the hope that the value of land will rise in future. But this is reducing the amount of land that is available for construction of affordable houses," he added.
Maringa said that the government has already put in place fiscal incentives to lure property developers to expand the supply of affordable houses in the country.
"Currently more than 70 percent of houses built are targeted at the high and middle income households," he said.
The ministry is also keen to reduce the cost of construction of houses through encouraging the industry to adopt low cost technologies.