President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday evening failed to assent to the 2018 Finance Bill passed by Members of the National Assembly to postpone the 16 per cent VAT on petroleum products to 2020.
The president received the bill on Thursday from National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi who had in the course of the week been accused of intentionally hanging on to the Bill by Minority Leader John Mbadi.
“It is unfortunate that despite Parliament approving the Finance Bill, 2018, exactly a fortnight ago, the same has not been forwarded to the President for assent,” John Mbadi had earlier said before the President’s decision.
Mbadi’s accusation sparked anger among the Kenyan public who believed that the government was employing stalling tactics to slow down the process of having the Bill become law
Following the President’s decision not to assent to the Bill, National Assembly Speaker John Muturi has since recalled parliament from recess via a gazette notice to discuss the developments on Tuesday and Thursday next week.
“The special sittings of the Assembly shall deal with the message of the President in respect to his reservations to the Finance Bill, 2018,” the gazette notice read.
Parliament is expected to re-examine the Finance Bill, 2018 all the while considering the President’s take on the matter.
The Members of Parliament are also expected to consider provisions of the Supplementary Estimates of 2018 and report to the relevant committee. They will also conduct a first, second and third reading of the Supplementary Appropriations Bill, 2018.
In addition, the MPs will also guide the Health Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018 through its second reading.
President Kenyatta is expected to address the nation on the petroleum tax today but following yesterday’s development it is highly unlikely that the levy on petroleum products will be pushed to 2020.
The fuel tax which took effect on September 1, 2018 significantly increased the price of petrol, diesel and kerosene countrywide.
Following the implementation of the levy, petroleum distributors engaged in a boycott that led to a shortage of the precious commodity within the country. Subsequently, a hike in matatu fares and price of commodities was recorded.