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After Deadly Demonstrations, Kenya’s President Refuses To Sign National Finance Bill

Following the recent deadly, anti-tax demonstrations, President of Kenya William Ruto announced on June 26 that he would not sign the national finance bill, The Star reported yesterday. The bill contained the tax hikes which had brought thousands of protesters into the streets over the previous weeks.

“Listening keenly to the people of Kenya who have said loudly that they want nothing to do with this Finance Bill 2024, I concede, and therefore I will not sign the 2024 Finance Bill, and it shall subsequently be withdrawn,” he said in a televised statement from the State House. The President is expected to return it to Parliament, which will then likely formally withdraw it.

In his address, Ruto said his government was struggling to reduce the debt burden, which he said consumes 61 out of every 100 shillings the government collects in taxes. The reduction of the debt is one of the demands of the International Monetary Fund, which has just renewed its call for raising taxes as part of its review of Kenya’s existing IMF loan agreement. The foreign debt of Kenya stands at some $39 billion this year, down from $45 billion in 2023.