Nairobi News


Raila also promised to build affordable houses

Although Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga has been in the forefront in criticizing the government’s proposed affordable housing project, he also promised the same during last year’s campaigns.

In Azimio la Umoja’s manifesto, there was a plan to also tax Kenyans 1.5 per cent towards the project of building affordable houses.

While speaking in Kisumu in May 2022 during the groundbreaking of Makasembo Estate where LAPFUND was constructing modern houses, Mr Odinga said, if elected, his government would reintroduce retired President Uhuru Kenyatta’s housing fund that was halted in 2018.

At the time, Mr Odinga hailed the proposed housing levy saying it would be a game-changer in the country in creating a solid fund for affordable homes for millions of Kenyans.

Also read: Raila – You can’t introduce Housing Fund in a depressed economy

“That was a very good policy, I want to revive it, where an employee will be contributing 1.5 per cent and the employer 1.5 per cent that will go into a pool of funds that can enable us to roll out massive housing development in our country,” Mr Odinga said back then.

But the proposed levy had attracted opposition from trade unions in the country, led by Cotu Secretary general Francis Atwoli when President Uhuru tried to introduce it in 2018.

“I have talked to the head of Cotu, Francis Atwoli and he has assured me that they will cooperate with us,” Mr Odinga said in 2022.

Also read: President Ruto enumerates merits of his affordable housing scheme

However, things seem to have taken a different turn as President William Ruto plans to roll-out a similar housing project.

The 2023/2024 proposed Finance Bill includes controversial clauses that will increase taxes on Kenyans.

This includes an increase in Pay as You Earn (PAYE) from 30 per cent to 35 per cent for Kenyans earning over Sh500,000.

Kenyans across the board will also be required to pay 3 per cent of their salary towards the Housing Fund. An employer will also be required to top up with a similar amount towards the fund.

Also read: Nyeri pastor claims Ruto’s affordable housing scheme is only for the rich