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September 22, 2018

Uhuru 'quietly' returns, to receive brief on fuel tax outrage

President Uhuru Kenyatta alights from the plane at the JKIA. /FILE
President Uhuru Kenyatta alights from the plane at the JKIA. /FILE

President Uhuru Kenyatta is Monday expected to hold discussions with key officials on the new fuel tax after silently jetting back into the country on Sunday evening.

Treasury and Parliament officials are expected to join the State Law Office in giving the President a way forward over the tax that has attracted public outrage.

Last week, Treasury CS Henry Rotich held a meeting with National Assembly Leadership led by Speaker Justin Muturi and Majority Leader Aden Duale.

Also in attendance to discuss the Finance Bill and the new VAT were Attorney General Paul Kihara and Deputy Chief of Staff Njee Muturi.

The President has been in Dubai with his family since Wednesday after leaving China where he attended an African leaders forum.

Uhuru arrived at JKIA and was welcomed by top government officials.

But in a big departure from the norm, the President’s communication team did not post photos of his return.

Kenyans only woke up to reports of their resident’s return, but there was no word on what he plans to do about the hiked fuel prices.

There have been calls on the President to sign the Finance Bill, 2018 which further suspends the 16 per cent VAT on fuel for another two years.

Uhuru is to receive the Finance Bill and if he assents to it, the VAT would be suspended bringing down the cost of fuel.

However, indications are that the President may send the Bill back to Parliament rejecting the proposal which would require MPs to marshall 2/3rd majority to overturn his decision.

Treasury has been under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to effect the VAT in order to meet the country's financial obligations.

Through the new tax, Treasury expects to raise an additional Sh73 billion annually to help plug in the budget deficit that has hit the country.

Over the last week, Deputy President has insisted that the government is in need of money while assuring that a solution over the tax would be found.

"We will engage MPs, especially those from Jubilee, to remind them how the transformation agenda has been planned," Ruto said on Sunday.

The government has been struggling to raise enough money to finance its projects spending zero shillings on development and no cash sent to counties in July.

Angry and frustrated Kenyans have been questioning Uhuru's silence on the new 16 per cent fuel levy.

The President is to receive the Finance Bill 2018 

More on this:Judge stops VAT as Kenyans ask: Where is Uhuru?

See also: Blow as High Court declines to suspend fuel levy

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