Teachers attached to the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) on Friday, May 12, opposed the housing fund introduced by President William Ruto.
While addressing the press, the union argued that a number of its members already owned houses demanding that they should be exempted from the three per cent deduction.
“We reject the three per cent levy because our teachers have already constructed houses in their rural homes. While those who have not constructed houses have already taken up loans for the same,” Jacob Karura, the head of the KUPPET Embu branch, told the press.
Furthermore, they argued that the time it would take to pay for the proposed houses was unrealistic for the teachers.
“A decent affordable house for a teacher costs about Ksh1.2 million. If you do the math, you get that a teacher will pay for that house for approximately 66 years. As teachers, we have our own plans,” another member argued.
Additionally, the union opined that teachers had their tastes and ideas of where to retire, replete with the design of the houses they wanted.
Some members further argued it was unreasonable to ask them to leave their rural houses where they rear livestock to live in a highrise apartment with their goats, chickens, and cows.
“We do want to live in those highrises, they will disadvantage teachers,” the members added.
As a result, they issued a 14 days ultimatum to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to intervene and ensure teachers are exempted from taxation failure, to which, the union threatened to strike.
On Thursday, May 11, Ruto defended the deduction explaining that politicians were also subjected to a similar model.
He further queried how Kenyans expected the government to fund the affordable housing plan as proposed during the campaign period.
“I know that most of you already have mortgages you can pay up to Ksh50,000 or Ksh20,000. Why would you not want the rest of Kenyans not to own homes? Allow the hustlers also to own homes,” Ruto appealed.
Furthermore, Ruto vowed to increase the number of housing units from 50,000 to 200,000 annually by engaging different investors.
However, on Wednesday, April 25, Housing Principal Secretary Charles Hinga emphasised that the deduction was not mandatory for Kenyans.