Nairobi News

GeneralHashtagHustleMust ReadNewsWhat's Hot

Ruto defends 3% housing levy as patriotic duty to Kenyans

President William Ruto insists that the three per cent housing levy his government plans to deduct from basic salaries is a duty of patriotism in which the employed will help the unemployed earn a living.

As a result, the employed will either receive a house or their savings with interest.

“We plan to build 200,000 houses a year. These houses will create jobs for at least one to two million youths,” he said during a joint media briefing at State House in Nairobi.

“I don’t see any reason why anyone who is privileged with a job today, a job that many others can do, should have any problem contributing to a national programme to help the less fortunate, starting with me as President.”

Also read: Cabinet approves Sh15billion for city slum housing project

The proposed levy has faced opposition from various groups, including employers, employees, civil servants, nurses, and even some MPs within President Ruto’s own Kenya Kwanza One Kenya alliance.

Ruto said the plan was being fought with propaganda, “but all the money received will remain the property of those who donated it to us”.

He said the government was forcing civil servants to save in the scheme because the money would be returned to them as houses or savings plus interest.

“This is not a joke, it is a serious matter and all working people owe it to those less fortunate to lift them up,” he said.

He said the proposal would sail through, “and it should not be treated as a tax, rather it is a national plan where we will take something small from your basic salary to provide employment for these brothers and sisters out there without jobs”.

Also read: 300,000 desperate Kenyans scramble for 228 low-cost housing units

Once completed, the houses will be bought by those in need, he said.

“The proposed percentage is from the basic salary. Ignore the propaganda that it is a lot of money from the salary… and it is not a new tax. It is a donation, where you just give us your money for some time to help us create more job opportunities by initiating these projects. It is a win-win situation that should not be misinterpreted, and it is serious, and it is coming for real,” he said.

Under the plan, employees are expected to contribute three per cent of their basic salary, with the employer matching a similar percentage per employee.

“This is your money, yes, but you are giving it to us so that we can build affordable houses for the ordinary mwananchi,” he told journalists, who are also affected.

“And it will have two segments – social housing and affordable housing. The first is for low-income earners, especially those from informal settlements, and they will pay rent as a mortgage.”

At some point, he said, the houses will be handed over to the tenants to be fully owned.

As for affordable housing, he explained that it would be a scramble by anyone in need on a mortgage basis.

Also read: Soweto residents given one-month eviction order ahead of housing project