Court extends orders barring gov’t from imposing housing tax on Kenyans

Court extends orders barring gov’t from imposing housing tax on Kenyans

The Employment and Labour Relations court has extended orders suspending the government plan to impose a 1.5%housing levy on salaries of all employees as contribution to the National Housing and Development Fund.

Justice Hellen Wasilwa on Monday gave parties in the case challenging the housing tax more time to reach an out-of-court settlement.

The matter will be mentioned on April 8, 2019 to confirm whether the parties have agreed or negotiations are still on.

The orders were issued following a petition filed by COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli who argues that there was no public participation in the plan.

COTU argues that the implementation of the 1.5% housing development levy will result in an increase in the general price levels across sectors in the country, and in turn make the lives of Kenya’s poor millions unbearable and more miserable.

“The petitioner is opposed to the proposed amendments due to the fact that they don’t promote good governance, accountability and transparency, “ argues Atwoli.

He further claims that the decision by the government to impose the said deduction is in defiance of the express decision of the union and the people of Kenya and threatens good order.

Transport, Housing and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia on January 30 this year said the government had reached an agreement with the workers’ union, which will pave the way for an end to court injunctions that had stopped the deduction.

Capped at a high of Ksh. 2500 and a minimum Ksh. 200 with the room for additional-voluntary contributions, the housing levy — if successful — is expected to raise a total of Ksh.48 billion annually to aid the financing of the low-cost and social housing initiative.