We Will Fight in Court Over 3% Housing Levy, Omtata tells Ruto
Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah has poked holes in the Finance Bill 2023, saying several clauses in the proposed law contravene the constitution.
Speaking at a service attended by President William Ruto in Busia Stadium on Sunday, May 28, 2023, the renowned human rights activist took the President head-on over the proposed mandatory 3% housing levy.
Without mincing his words, Omtatah said he would challenge in court the levy and other proposals in the Bill seeking to introduce more taxes on Kenyans if it’s not reviewed.
“President Ruto you are my friend but the law is supreme. I’ve read the Finance Bill 2023 and the Bill contravenes at least six sections of the constitution. I urge your team to respect the constitution and drop the clauses because if they don’t we will fight in court,” Omtatah warned.
“There is nothing to complain about but there is everything to fight for. But let us avoid that fight. Let people not fool you here. Let people not deceive you. There are issues in that Bill that even the Supreme Court has pronounced itself on that need to be honoured. Like the housing levy, it was in the other Bill I challenged it and it was made voluntary. Do you want me to return to court?” he posed.
Omtatah said he had already prepared a petition to challenge the Bill in court but postponed its filing last week after learning about the President’s visit.
He urged the President to “make things easier” for leaders in the opposition to support his government.
“When I wake up in the morning, among the intercessions I make I pray for you as the President of Kenya to succeed because if you succeed Kenya is better off for everyone but you if you fail we all fail,” he added.
“I pray that we look at this Bill if we can avoid having to go and fight in court we avoid. But if people are coming here to say everything is okay we will fight in court next week.”
President Ruto has in recent weeks defended the housing levy saying Kenyans stand to benefit from affordable housing. He also insists that the Housing Fund will create employment opportunities for jobless youths.
Opposition legislators have already declared their intention to oppose the Finance Bill 2023 which is currently in the public participation stage.
The proposed law seeks to compel employers and their employees to contribute 3% of their wages to the housing scheme.
Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya coalition leader Raila on Friday said the proposed 3 per cent housing levy is unsustainable and should be shelved.
Speaking during a prayer meeting at Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s farm in Yatta on Friday, May 26, the opposition chief accused President Ruto’s administration of overburdening the taxpayer.
Raila noted that the government was wrong to introduce the levy when the country is struggling economically.