- President William Ruto has once against come out to shield his push for the controversial national housing programme that has triggered fierce public uproar.
- This even as his deputy Rigathi Gachagua asked him to ignore those opposed to the proposed three percent housing l
President William Ruto has once again defended his push for the controversial national housing programme that has triggered a public uproar.
This is even as his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua asked him to ignore the 'noise makers' of the proposed three per cent housing levy that the government seeks to use to actualise the project.
“Don’t worry about these people making noise about the housing fund. No matter what you do they can’t see. And if they don't want to see, let them shut their eyes so that work can continue,” Gachagua told Ruto.
Gachagua challenged the critics to come up with a better alternative strategy to help reduce the crop up of slums in the country.
“We are inviting our critics, if they find affordable housing cannot solve the issue of the crop up of slums, to give us their plan,” he said.
Speaking in Embu on Friday, the head of state stated that he seeks to use the ambitious programme to sort out three critical issues that will unlock economic growth.
Ruto explained he’s using the programme to create at least two million jobs for youths, build decent houses to curb the spread of slums in urban areas and empower the manufacturing sector.
“The people who are asking me why I'm pushing for the housing plan urgently is because we need to provide jobs for the millions of unemployed Kenyans,” he said when met entrepreneurs at Embu University.
The President explained that for every house that will be built, at least five youths will get jobs. The government intends to build 250,000 units every year.
“I don’t want to be a liar; I said I will create employment for our youth, and that is the plan,” he said.
In the Finance Bill 2023, the government has introduced the housing levy fund that would see salaried Kenyans contribute three per cent of their income monthly.
“The real motivation behind the housing plan is the jobs we are going to create for the young people of Kenya,” he said.
But the move has sparked a backlash with the opposition, employers, civil servants and other players opposing the housing fund alongside those taxes proposed in the Bill.
On Friday, Ruto criticised those opposing the plan and the proposed levy.
“I hear there are some people inciting you. First, you don’t have a salary. That person with a salary is telling you to oppose (the levy). Hii dunia iko na utapeli mingi sana,” he said.
Through the housing programme, the government will curb the mushrooming informal settlements that currently stand at 1,411 across the country.
“Kenya is one of the fastest urbanising countries in the world; whereas in some places it's at 3.7 per cent, Kenya's rate is 4.4 per cent. By 2050, 68 per cent of Kenyans will be urban dwellers. If our strategy works, people will either live in slums or in affordable housing,” he said.
He explained that the government will ensure that the construction materials used in the project are sourced locally to boost the local manufacturing industry.
As such, the government has proposed tough tax measures to discourage the use of imported materials for use in the project.
“We will impose a 30 per cent exercise tax on imported furniture. How can we increase our manufacturing if we continue to import goods that our young people can make? Why do we take them to TVET to train if we import everything?’ he posed.