The Kenya High Court declared a 1.5% housing levy that was imposed by the government as part of a finance law in July 2023, unconstitutional, reports BBC News.
A three-judge bench ruled that the tax didn’t have proper legal support. The introduction of the housing levy, among other taxes, sparked deadly protests amid a high cost of living.
The government is now asking the court to delay the decision for 45 days while they figure out what to do next.
President William Ruto had, on June 12, 2023, bowed to pressure and slashed the Housing Fund levy by half, from the current 3% to 1.5%. Reducing the percentage of the levy contained in the Finance Bill 2023 came as a direct response to the widespread public outcry, with a considerable number of Kenyans expressing strong opposition to the scheme, reports Capital FM.
Ruto at the time defended the contentious housing levy saying it would assist in bridging the country’s housing deficit. The president chastised politicians who he said “are out to demonise” an otherwise good agenda. He had called for the housing programme to be separated from politics.