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TIFA: 32% of Kenyans are unemployed

By Mercy Simiyu September 13th, 2023 2 min read

32 percent of Kenyans aged over 18 are not employed.

This is according to a survey released by the Trends and Insights for Africa (TIFA) released in Nairobi on September 12, 2023.

The survey also indicates 36 percent of Kenyans are self-employed while 19 percent and 13 percent are in the formal and informal sectors respectively.

The rest earn a living in farming and as casual laborers.

The survey further states that those employed are categorized into full-time, part-time, and self-employed.

The survey comes at a time when the government has levied a 1.5% housing tax levy on all salaried Kenyans. The percentage will be matched equally by each employer, with the proceeds channeled towards building affordable houses for Kenyans.

The decision to impose the housing tax garnered mixed reactions from the public.

Proponents argue it will provide a much-needed boost to the government’s efforts to provide affordable housing options to the Kenyan workforce.

They believe that this fund will facilitate the construction of housing units that are more accessible to the majority of the population, particularly those in the formal sector.

The Finance Act 2023, which introduced the housing tax, had initially faced legal challenges, leading to its suspension. However, the recent decision by the Court of Appeal to lift the suspension has now cleared the way for the government to proceed with its implementation.

Tifa also reveals that among income earners, the vast majority report earning less than Shs20,000, a month (53%). However, a significant proportion were either “unsure” of their recent monthly income or declined to answer the question (25%).

Other levies imposed on Kenyans by President William Ruto’s regime include the additional VAT on fuel products from 8% to 16%, and additional levy on NSSF and NHIF, among others.

The data on employed and unemployed Kenyans come at a time Kenyans are grappling with a high cost of living on almost all basic commodities including maize flour, sugar, electricity and fuel.

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