Kenyan Authorities Backtrack on Tax Bill Amid Nationwide Protests

Kenyan Authorities Backtrack on Tax Bill Amid Nationwide Protests

Following Tuesday’s protests, the Kenyan government decided to remove some tax increases that were originally part of its contentious financial package.

According to Kuria Kimani, the head of Kenya’s Finance and National Planning Committee, several proposed tax increases were dropped, including a 16% value-added tax (VAT) on bread, as well as levies on cars, vegetable oil, and mobile money transfers.

“When we started the public participation in the finance bill of 2024, we did make a promise that public participation would not be an exercise in futility. We have listened to the view of Kenyans,” In an address given outside the State House in Nairobi, Kimani stated.

The “need to protect Kenyans from increased cost of living” was the driving force for changes to the finance bill, according to Kimani.

In a speech at the State House, President William Ruto of Kenya expressed his happiness that the public had examined the proposed finance bill and had “recommended through public participation their feelings, their ideas, their suggestions.”

“The fact that the executive is working, the legislature is working, the judiciary is working, institutions are working in Kenya, that is a very proud country and I want to belong to Kenya,” Ruto continued.

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A human rights organization in Kenya called Defenders Coalition reports that over 210 individuals were detained during a “peaceful assembly” outside the capital’s parliament buildings as a result of the protests against the contentious measure.

The Kenya National Police was denounced by the organization for their efforts to “silence dissent through excessive force and intimidation.”

As protesters gathered outside the Central Police Station to demand the release of the arrested protestors, police used tear gas on the crowd, according to a social media post by Faith Odhiambo, the president of Kenya’s Law Society Council.

“This is a new low for the @NPSOfficial_KE [National Police Service Kenya]. Our resolve remains unchanged, we must stamp out impunity,” Odhiambo stated.


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