Kenya: Labour Court Extends Order Barring Implementation of Housing Fund Levy

Women fetch water from a well (file photo).

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has extended the order stopping the implementation of Housing Fund Levy that was intended to commence on 9 May 2019.

Justice Maureen Onyango, said until the hearing of the applications challenging the execution of the Finance Act 2018 relating to payment of 1.5 per cent by employers and a similar percentage by employees, the implementation should not take place. The judge told parties in 11 applications, that they put in their responses and the matter be mentioned on June 10 for directions as to the hearing

COFEK lawyer Henry Kurauka, told the judge, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works has already put a public notice in the media announcing the commencement of the Finance Act 2018 relating to Housing Fund Levy.

The lawyer said that the decision by CS to implement section 31 A of employment Act imposing Housing Fund Levy is illegal, unconstitutional, discriminatory, oppressive and irrational and without basis coming too late.

Kurauka submitted that introducing Housing Fund Levy is not a priority in Kenya, because there more pressing issues which the 13 counties being ravaged by hunger, drought where farmers are unable to secure input and further coupled by Health challenges coupled by unmet expectations on NHIF. " There is arising cost of living and poverty which the government must address first" the lawyer said.

The implementation of the Housing Fund Levy will increase unemployment as many employers will resort to cut down their workforce to detriment of the economy, saying that statutory amendments that increases cost of human resource will create job crisis in the Country.

"The said Housing Fund Levy does not guarantee that all contributors under the scheme would get Houses after investing their money" he observed.

The Fund is discriminatory to many citizens especially those who own their Houses or retiring, people living with disability low income earners and retrenched workers.

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