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Ruto to MPs: Pass new Housing Bill by Tuesday

President William Ruto has implored Members of Parliament to hasten the passage of the Affordable Housing Bill, 2023, so that he can sign it into law, promising that it will help create employment.

Speaking during his visit to Nyeri County on Friday, President Ruto said the proposed law should not face any hurdles as it would help thousands of youth get jobs in the housing project.

“Many of our youth have no jobs. Some are already on the sites. We need to pass the law for them to continue as I have nowhere else to take them,” he said.

The Head of State who was accompanied by his deputy Rigathi Gachagua urged MPs who were present when he launched an affordable housing project in Nyeri Town and a water project in Mathira constituency to ensure the Bill was passed.

The Bill seeks to entrench the controversial housing levy in law in a bid to comply with the orders of the court.

Parliament on Thursday evening started debate on the bill whose second reading is slated for Tuesday.

The High Court declared that the charge at 1.5 percent of gross salary of an employee to fund the building of houses was unconstitutional.

The three-judge bench declared the levy unconstitutional for being ‘discriminatory and creating unequal principles’.

The judges said the government had failed to explain the imposition of the levy or a legal framework to anchor the tax, contrary to the constitutional provisions.

On Friday, President Ruto said work was ongoing in 50 affordable housing sites with a total 130,000 workers across the country and that the initiative needs to be supported. He said the building of houses will absorb 300,000 workers by end of the year.

In Nyeri County, he said, 15,000 housing units are to be established, employing 30,000 workers.

The President was confident the economy was in ‘good’ recovery trajectory and that the Kenya Shilling was now gaining ground against the US dollar.

He said he had completed the biggest hurdle that faced his young administration by paying the country’s debts and resuscitating the economy and that it was now time for him to implement his campaign promises.

“I learnt from Kibaki that the country cannot be developed by debts but through payment of taxes,” he said as he thanked Mathira residents for ‘giving’ him his deputy.

President Ruto doled out a number of goodies to Kiambu, Nyeri and Murang’a residents saying it was time for them to reap ‘big’ for backing him in the last election.

National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wa who sought support for UDA, was confident that the Affordable Housing Bill will sail through in the House on Tuesday.

East African Legislative Assembly lawmaker Kanini Kega said President Ruto had transformed the country and that Kenyans will soon appreciate his vision.

The President was on Friday afternoon expected to complete his visit of the Mt Kenya region in Gatundu before flying out to Ethiopia.

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