Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has agreed to reduce an unpopular fuel tax which caused strikes and widespread anger when it came into force earlier in the month. The government had faced a fuel dealers’ strike, anger among commuters and a lawsuit after transport and fuel prices jumped when the sixteen percent value-added tax on all petroleum products entered into force on the first of September.
In a speech to the nation today, the president proposed to halve the levy to eight percent.
Mr Kenyatta said he had listened to Kenyans concerns over rising prices. The President had earlier rejected a proposal, which would have postponed the tax for two years – signaling that he seemed unwilling to scrap the unpopular fuel duty.
Kenyatta said further delay in the implementation of the tax would compromise the government’s ability to deliver basic services to Kenyans, and to maintain the trajectory of the country’s development. He however said he decided to lower the rate because of the tax’s impact on the cost of living.
Parliament will reconvene next week to examine Kenyatta’s new proposal.