BY PETER KOMBE
Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua has called on the government to suspend the implementation of the 1.5 per cent housing levy until when country’s economy stabilises.
Dr Mutua, speaking to the media in a Mombasa hotel, says Kenyans are facing hard economic times and introducing the levy will be adding to their unbearable woes.
Though he supports the levy to ensure Kenyans get decent houses, Dr Mutua, however, questions the way it is being implemented without involving those concerned.
According to him many of Kenyans are struggling to make ends meet and imposing such a levy during this time of drought and hunger will rubbing them the wrong way socially and economically.
“We have no problem with the idea, but what we are worried about is the way it is being imposed to Kenyans without giving them the forum to debate it exhaustively and correct all grey areas,” he said.
Flanked by his deputy governor Francis Maliti, the governor says graft in the country could be minimized if County Assemblies vow not to pass key expenditure budgets for their respective counties until county officials undergo lifestyle auditing.
“All leaders should be ready for a lifestyle Auditing. I urge MCAs not to approve budgets until county leaders accept a lifestyle auditing,” he added.
The governor, however, insists that the gazettement of the levy to begin in May should be withdrawn until a stakeholder engagement done saying it (levy) is raising integrity questions on how the monies from the taxpayer will be used.
The Housing Fund Levy is expected to finance the affordable Housing Scheme, one of the government’s “Big Four’ agenda. According to the housing levy employers will be required to make employees’ deductions of 1.5 percent on monthly basis to submit under the National House Development Fund.