Court pushes 1.5 Housing tax despite Sonko, Mutua objections

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The court has now ordered the government to further halt the implementation of the newly introduced 1.5 Housing Levy tax.

This decision was earlier made by the court, to temporarily suspend the enactment of the tax up until April 17. It will now not take place up until May 27 according to a new ruling.

The order was issued on Monday by Justice Maureen Onyango in Nairobi to allow for the consolidation of the various cases filed against the plan.

The government planned to take 1.5 percent of workers’ gross salary in the formal sector to set up a housing fund.

This was met by objections and court applications to ban it right from politicians to trade unions.

The Central Organisation of Trade Union, Trade Union Congress of Kenya, Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) and the Federation of Kenyan Employers were among the unions that objected the ruling.

This while leaders such as Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko who argued that Kenyans are poor and should not be taxed further.

“In as much as I support the affordable housing programme and the entire Big 4 Agenda za rais wetu mpendwa who happens to be my friend, mentor and like an elder brother to me and putting into consideration that Nairobi County is targeting to deliver 200,000 housing units in three years, I beg to oppose the housing levy the government is intending to impose Nairobians and Kenyans in general,” Sonko wrote on Facebook.

He has been backed by Machakos counterpart Alfred Mutua an Senator Johnson Sakaja.

“There should be no new taxes. Taxes on essential commodities and activities such as food and transportation, cost of fuel, cost of power, and many others should be reduced and not taxed more. Kenyans are tired,” Mutua on the other hand said at a separate gathering.

“Why is the government acting as if it is at war with the people, why are you threatening Kenyans? Today you are telling them to take Huduma Namba, tomorrow it is about house levy, the following day you are imposing sanction on importation of vehicles,” said Senator Sakaja.

Sakaja challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration to reason with citizens instead of pushing them back and forth with punitive policies. “There is something fundamentally wrong with this government that needs to be addressed, the youths of this country are learned, qualified yet unemployed, but the government is not talking about this issues,” he added.

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