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Kenyan President Rejects Bill Delaying Unpopular Fuel Tax

FILE - Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta arrives to inspect a guard of honor before the annual State of the Nation address at the parliament buildings in Nairobi, Kenya, May 2, 2018.

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday 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 Sept. 18 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 percent 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.