Nairobi — The Kenya Post Primary Teachers Union KUPPET has called on Parliament to amend the Finance Bill 2023 in a bid to make the proposed Housing Levy voluntary.
Moses Mbora, a union official who represented the KUPPET Executive Secretary before a Senate Standing Committee on Education on Thursday, said teachers would not afford a 3 per cent contribution to the fund.
He said most KUPPET members had loans leaving their pay slips with minimal funds.
“KUPPET does not support the deductions of salaries from teachers amounting to three percent for the purposes of funding the housing levy,” Mbora declared.
He said teachers’ financial situation had been worsened by failure by the Teachers Service Commission to effect promotions.
“Among other challenges, the teachers have resorted to loans to manage their families and what remains within their payslip is very little,” Mbota told the Senate committee.
“A deduction of three percent may leave them with earnings below a third,” he cautioned.
KUPPET proposed that President William Ruto’s administration adopts the Jubilee Party model under Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta where the government considered other alternatives to fundraise.
“We propose the government to continue constructing the houses in the same model the Jubilee government handled that project so that it looks for funds or it budgets for such kind of projects,” he said.
“Also, the government can ensure it seals all the leakages within its functions so that the funds do not leak once they are budgeted. It has to ensure there is zero corruption,” he added.
Ruto has defended the Housing Fund saying it would not only help those seeking to own homes an opportunity to do so but also provide employment opportunities in the construction sector.
Speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed Bellevue Park affordable housing project in South C, Nairobi, on May 11, Ruto dismissed claims that the Housing Fund was a tax terming it a saving scheme for those who would not wish to acquire homes.
Mortgage for low-income earners
President Ruto told off critics of his contentious levy saying his critics were themselves beneficiaries of mortgages who were now out to deny low-income workers an opportunity to live in decent homes.
“The contribution you make in the housing fund is not a tax, it is your money. It is the shillings that will become thousands, millions, and billions and that is the money we are going to use to build affordable housing,” he said.
The Head of State accused critics of his housing proposal of misleading Kenyans and ultimately, seeking to deny low-income Kenyans a chance to own homes.
“Every leader, MP and MCA has a mortgage, and it is time now we plan for other Kenyans to get their mortgages,” he added.
On April 23, President Ruto said the government will strengthen the Housing Fund to help more Kenyans purchase affordable housing units.
The President said Kenyans will now be contributing 3 percent of their income and kick start their journey of owning a house.
“Every employee who contributes 3 percent, the law will compel their employer to also contribute 3 percent to the Housing kitty,” he added.
He said civil servants will also benefit from the program.