National Youth Service (NYS) trainees will construct 15,000 houses for police officers, a move that will reduce private sector participation in public construction tenders.
Treasury secretary Henry Rotich says the ongoing slum upgrade and youth empowerment project by the NYS presents practical lessons for using the trainees in the police housing project.
“Building on the programme implementation experience so far, it is now apparent that alternative, practical and faster ways of delivering key priority projects will need to be adopted so as to deliver on the government’s transformative agenda,” says Mr Rotich.
The Treasury in the Budget Policy Statement says easing of housing shortage in the National Police Service would motivate the officers and ultimately boost security.
However, the move could hit private investors who were eyeing construction deals and leasing homes to the police service.
Mr Rotich said the NYS would construct the houses using affordable panelling technology.
The panels are made from materials like compressed rice and wheat husks, which are paired with metal frames in what analysts argue cuts the overall cost of construction by up to 30 per cent and reduce the time taken to put up a building.
It is estimated that a two bedroom unit built with the technology would cost Sh800,000 compared with about Sh2.2 million when using bricks and timber. The police houses will have provision for water harvesting, natural light and solar lighting, a move aimed at cutting down on expenses like electricity.
Mr Rotich says NYS will build 20,000 more houses using the low-cost technology between 2016 and 2019.
Police officers in the country are facing an acute housing shortage with some sharing rooms. The police housing deal comes at a period that has seen the NYS mandate widened in an effort to offer the youth jobs and ease Kenya’s unemployment crisis.