County workers threaten legal intervention to force Govt to drop Social Health Bill


The Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU) has threatened to move to Court if the government does not rescind its decision to enforce the Social Health Insurance Bill 2023.

“We have instructed our lawyers to critically analyze the document and point out clauses that are unconstitutional and oppressive to our members. We will be moving to court to ensure that such sections which are not beneficial to our members are expunged,” Dr. John Ndunda, the Union Deputy Secretary General, stated.

The Union faulted the proposed 2.75% deduction of the gross salary of employed Kenyans to fund the Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF).

Speaking during the Union’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Kisumu, Ndunda lamented that the additional deduction will hurt Kenyans who are already burdened with the recently introduced taxes and levies in addition to the rising cost of living.

“Our members are suffering because taxes have increased yet salaries have remained constant. Workers have been subjected to a vicious cycle of poverty despite being employed,” he lamented.

The labour leader said that county employees from the 47 counties are opposed to the new scheme citing the lack of government’s commitment to involve relevant stakeholders before its rollout.

He pointed out that the proposed tax would hit not only higher-income Kenyans but also many people in the informal sector with lower income who are expected to pay upfront annual contributions to benefit from health insurance.

“The SHIF Act is retrogressive as it will increase the contributions from the workers and reduce the benefits for the workers. An individual earning Sh.500,000 and was contributing Sh.1,700 for NHIF, will be deducted Sh.13,750 and the health benefits are ungenerous,” he stated.

Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Susan Nakhumicha designated November 22, 2023 as the effective date of the Social Health Insurance Act to pave the way for the reforms in the new health financing model.

By Fredrick Odiero

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