Court shelves housing levy again, until June 10

The Employment and Labour Relations Court extended orders suspending implementation of the 1.5 per cent housing levy until June 10.

Justice Maureen Onyango said this would enable the court to consolidate 11 separate cases filed to challenge the controversial tax.

The court will also hear applications filed by the Central Organisation of Trade Union (Cotu), Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek).

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Last month, the court suspended deduction of 1.5 per cent of employees’ salaries towards the Housing Fund temporarily until May 20, pending the hearing of a case opposing the levy.

Cofek lawyer Henry Kurauka told the court the Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has already issued a gazette notice imposing the levy.

The lawyer said that the decision by the CS was illegal, unconstitutional, discriminatory, oppressive and irrational.

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Mr Kurauka said the affordable housing project is not a priority, adding that there are more pressing issues like the need to address hunger in some counties and poor healthcare.

“There is a rising cost of living and poverty which the Government must address first,” he told the court.

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“The said Housing Fund Levy does not guarantee that all contributors under the scheme would get houses after investing their money.”

The judge directed CS Macharia and Attorney General Paul Kihara to respond to the applications. Affordable housing is one of the pillars of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s legacy. The government intends to construct 100,000 houses per year under the scheme in order to bring down the backlog that currently stands at 200,000 houses annually.

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Employment and Labour Relations Courthousing levy1.5 per centHousingCabinet Secretary James Macharia