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Gov’t will respect court ruling on housing levy, says President Ruto

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The Government will respect the ruling of the court on the housing levy, President William Ruto has said.

Reacting to the High Court ruling that declared the housing levy unconstitutional, the President said his administration will do as the courts have directed on the matter.

Speaking during the 5th Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation-Africa at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, President Ruto said he respects the rule of law and that applies to the entire government.

“The courts have said we have to re-adjust the law. This is what we are going to do. We will do as the courts have said on the housing levy,” said President Ruto.

The Head of State noted that the affordable housing project was critical for the creation of employment opportunities for the youth.He argued that 120,000 people have so far been employed through the affordable housing project, noting that the number was expected to be500,000 by 2027.

At the same time,President Ruto said the government is committed to safeguarding the welfare of workers in the country.

The President said labour relations, trade unions and social security are recognized as human rights and fundamental freedoms.

This, he said, has promoted human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, and equality in the labour market.

He noted that setting out the respective rights and obligations of workers, employers and government has enhanced the right to fair labour practices

“Our determination to actualise the best standards of worker protection and welfare has inspired us to endeavour to align our labour policy framework with all international labour standards that have been ratified by Kenya,” he said.

The President said this includes the upgrading of the country’s occupational safety and health as well as work injury benefits regimes.

The Head of State said prioritising workers’ welfare was the surest way of accelerating the actualisation of the government’s worker-centric Bottom-UpEconomic Transformation Agenda.

This, he explained, will stimulate economic vigour, increase incomes, enhance savings and promote investment.

“The gap that exists is that of making sure that adequate arrangements exist to ensure that workers have decent jobs, safe and dignified working environment, a fair regime of income and remuneration, which rewards skill and productivity,” he added.

The President called on Pan African trade union leadership to spearhead the realisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area that promises a better future for workers in the continent.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley emphasized on the need for governments to protect and empower workers through training.

“We must protect the most vulnerable workers amongst us besides empowering them through training,” said Ms Mia who spoke virtually.

Director-General of the International Labour Organisation Gilbert Houngbo, said combating inequality and poverty remain key to the welfare of workers.

He urged African governments to address the problem of child labour, saying it was still rampant in the continent.

“We owe our children a better future. We must stop child labour for the sake of their future,” said Mr Houngbo.

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