President William Ruto has defended the Housing Fund proposal under the Finance Bill 2023.
This is after, the proposal to have a three per cent deduction from employees and employers came under sharp criticism.
Ruto, while speaking during Madaraka Day Celebrations in Embu, said housing fund be beneficial among them, creating job opportunities.
“Many countries are struggling in vain to generate a national debate on public financing, taxation and policy issues, in Kenya we have easily sustained intense discourse on the finance bill and affordable housing for weeks now, the debate has remained issue-oriented and there is no hint of divisive ethnic rhetoric at all,” he said.
The President said the proposal to raise taxes will discourage imported goods that can be manufactured locally to grow local manufacturing and enhance export competitiveness
“In this debate, Kenyans are interested in how the government will create the one million jobs it has committed to provide through the Affordable Housing Programme,” he said.
He said the construction of houses consumes a lot of products and the affordable housing programme is an intervention to support the local construction industry.
“The programme will work with Jua Kali sector to create high quality and competitive opportunities for manufacturers and jobs for citizens,” he said.
“By catalysing the construction of hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units, we shall be stimulating productivity and competitiveness in the manufacture of cement, steel, paint, nails, ballast, timber, roofing materials, windows and doors, among many other products.”
Ruto said the proposal will also come in handy with the balancing of trade, employment creation and the growth of wealth.
He said the vision for Affordable Housing Programme is premised on creating direct and indirect employment opportunities throughout every value chain in the housing development ecosystem.
“A single housing unit is capable of employing 3-5 workers directly, and an additional eight workers indirectly, in the manufacturing of construction products, transport and logistics,” he said.
Ruto added that with the proposal, he wants to increase the number of homeowners and transition more Kenyans from rent-paying to homeownership.
He said the programme aims to enable Mamamboga to access and afford a mortgage.
The Head of State said affordable housing is human dignity, and entails the liberation of millions of people who live in unhygienic environments without proper sanitation
“We did not fight for independence to relegate our innocent compatriots to a life of suffering, exclusion and indignity in slums.”