President William Ruto has continued to defend the affordable housing program, which aims to deduct three percent of Kenyans’ basic pay for the Housing Fund. Speaking at the grand opening of Kerugoya General Hospital in Kirinyaga County, Ruto emphasized that the plan would create employment opportunities for the youth. He criticized leaders who opposed the mandatory contribution, stating that it was absurd to reject a program that would benefit the people. Ruto pointed out that some of these leaders had been elected by slum dwellers but were opposing the slum upgrading project, questioning their rationale.
Ruto claimed that the opposition’s current resistance to the housing levy was merely political, noting that they had previously supported it before elections. He argued that it was fair for elected leaders to pass the Finance Bill 2023 so that the voters, their employers, could also gain employment opportunities. Ruto highlighted the job prospects in the construction of houses and at the Special Economic Zones outlined in the Finance Bill 2023.
On Monday, Members of Parliament reduced the housing levy from three percent to 1.5 percent as a mandatory contribution. Under the program, employees will be required to contribute 1.5 percent of their monthly pay to provide affordable housing for Kenyans. However, the proposal has faced opposition from various groups, including leaders from both the government and the opposition.
Raila Odinga, the leader of Azimio, issued a warning that if the Bill is passed, the opposition will regroup and challenge Ruto’s influence. Raila stated that they had agreed with their MPs to vote against any tax increases and that if Ruto gains control in the National Assembly, they would rally and challenge him at the broader national level.
Raila had previously announced his intention to introduce the housing levy if elected as president in the August polls. He expressed cooperation with Francis Atwoli, the head of Cotu (Central Organization of Trade Unions), and their commitment to address the housing shortage in the country under the Azimio government.