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Kenyatta defies parliament, rejects bill delaying unpopular fuel tax

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FILE PHOTO: Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks while meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 27, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya defied parliament by rejecting a finance bill that sought to postpone a widely unpopular tax on fuel that has triggered strikes and public anger.

Parliament will hold a special sitting on the bill on Tuesday to reconsider the finance bill “together with the reservations of the president”, said the gazette notice signed by Justin Muturi, the speaker of the national assembly.

It did not say why the president rejected the bill as passed by parliament in late August.

Kenyatta’s acting spokesperson Kanze Dena told Reuters the president would address the country on the matter on Friday.

His government faced a strike by some fuel dealers, anger among commuters and a lawsuit after it triggered a hike in transport and fuel prices by imposing the 16 per cent value added tax on all petroleum products on Sept. 1.

The finance bill that was returned to parliament had also retained a cap on commercial lending rates, after lawmakers amended a move by the finance minister to repeal it.


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