Speacial needs teachers oppose affordable housing deduction proposed via Finance Bill

Monday, May 8th, 2023 16:06 | By
Kenya Union of Special needs Education Teachers (KUSNET) secretary general James Torome. PHOTO/George Sayagie
Kenya Union of Special needs Education Teachers (KUSNET) secretary general James Torome. PHOTO/George Sayagie

Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers (KUSNET) has called on MPs to reject the Finance Bill fronted by the National Assembly Majority leader Kimani Ichungwa which proposes a 3 percent deduction of salaries for affordable housing.

KUSNET Secretary General James Torome argued that the Bill proposing a three per cent deduction from workers’ basic pay to go towards the National Housing Development Fund is misadvised.

“The Finance Bill 2023 is a vicious attempt to turn Kenyan workers into paupers; it is the wrong time for such a Bill to be presented while the nation is still grappling with high food prices and high cost of living,” said Torome.

“The rising cost of living makes a public service employee a slave who cannot afford a decent life,” he said

The Bill is proposing changes to the Employment Act to allow deductions of three percent from employees’ basic pay to help fund President William Ruto’s ambitious plan to build low-cost homes.

Speaking in his office in Narok town Torome said the move was undermining the hard-working workers who are already committed their pay slips to many other deductions in terms of loans and mortgages.

“The civil servants were instead waiting for a salary increment but are now worried after the intention to subject them to a mandatory housing contribution,” he said.

Torome said the workers will not accept the move since they were not involved in a public participation forum where they would give their views.

“We as the union leaders perceived that this is a move to undermine the Kenyan workers. We will use all means to ensure that the bill backfires,” said the unionist.

He called on the National Housing Corporation to give data on the houses they have built so far, their locations and who occupies them as a way of building confidence with their clients.

Industrial action against Finance Bill

KUSNET joins Public Sector Trade Unions threatening to call for industrial action if the proposed taxation in the Finance Bill is enacted into law.

Others who have protested the bill include Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) which says that the average public sector worker is already over-taxed.

Torome asked Parliamentarians to reject the proposals and urged the government to immediately engage representatives of workers’ unions to agree on the best way forward.

“The Finance Bill 2023, if passed the way it is, will see total deductions of upto 22 percent of one’s monthly earnings, with the remaining 48 percent still subjected to 16 percent VAT of all goods and services bought, whose prices are ever increasing,” said Totome.

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