Babu Owino opposes deduction of 1.5% of employees’ salaries to fund the Affordable Housing Programme

As the government announced that net salary of employees in the public and private sector is expected to go down 1.5percent in May to fund the Affordable Housing Scheme under the Big 4 Agenda, Embakasi East member of parliament Babu Owino has come out to oppose the idea.

Through a statement,the MP had the following to say;

“We have been made aware of the decision by National Treasury requiring employers to begin deducting 1.5% of their employees salaries and remit it to Government as Housing Levy to support the President’s Affordable Housing Programme.

From the onset, let me make it clear that I wholeheartedly support the President’s Big Four Agenda. As a Member of Parliament of an urban constituency, a large number of my constituents live in informal settlements. I support a housing programme that will restore dignity to the people at a rate that they can afford.

However, I disagree that it is the Government’s responsibility to build such homes. I firmly believe that the Government should focus on providing a conducive environment for the private sector to build the 450,000 affordable homes required. Public taxes cannot build so many homes.

I will therefore be moving an amendment to the Finance Bill in parliament that shall give financial institutions tax concessions for profits generated from construction loans. This will encourage banks to allocate more money to construction loans.

The National Government should follow suit and develop other innovative initiatives that will encourage the private sector to invest in this area.

Pending further consultations with the CS for Housing Mr. James Macharia on how this will be done, I will support the court action by the Federation of Kenya Employers to suspend the levy.

Let us think out of the box to get the country out of the box!”

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