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Why must you tax Kenyans? - PS dismissed from MPs meeting over 3% housing levy

PS Charles Hinga forced out after struggling to provide satisfactory answers on the 3% housing fund levy

Charles Hinga

Housing Principal Secretary Charles Hinga recently found himself in a challenging situation as he faced questioning regarding the controversial housing fund.

The Finance and National Planning Committee, chaired by Molo MP Kuria Kimani, sought clarification on the modality of the affordable housing plan and how it would be financed using taxpayers' money.

Among the concerns raised by lawmakers were the management of the fund, the interest earned by contributors, and the reason for imposing taxes when similar programs had been implemented previously without mandatory deductions.

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During the public hearings held at the Hilton Gardens Inn Hotel along Mombasa Road, Mr. Hinga began his presentation on the benefits of the affordable housing projects.

However, when the floor was opened for questions, Baringo North MP Joseph Makilap criticized the ministry for not considering the economic situation of the majority of workers.

MP Makilap questioned the source of funds for the project, highlighting that it had been conducted for five years without imposing taxes on Kenyans.

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He suggested that the housing scheme should continue without enforcing a compulsory housing fund, as this would be perceived as an additional tax burden on citizens.

"I would like to remind the PS that you made an emotional presentation. You indicated that you have been doing this project for about five years.

"Where did you get the money to do this without taxing Kenyans? Why don't you continue to do it without taxing Kenyans through a compulsory housing fund?" Makilap questioned.

Other MPs, including Adipo Okoume, John Ariko, and David Mboni, also expressed concerns, stating that the housing scheme contradicted the cultural practices of many communities.

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Dr. Ariko emphasized that making the housing levy compulsory effectively turned it into a tax.

"Making this housing levy compulsory makes it a tax. Anything that is not compulsory is a tax," Dr Ariko said.

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Amidst the committee's scrutiny, Charles Hinga struggled to provide satisfactory answers, leaving the lawmakers frustrated and seeking further clarification.

Chairman Kimani sarcastically told Hinga to go and attend to his other commitments.

He adjourned the meeting, promising another opportunity for him (Hinga), to address the lingering questions.

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