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Uhuru signs into law new taxes passed by MPs

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law the Finance Bill 2018 that was a matter of contention in Parliament on Thursday evening.

“I give my commitment that I will ensure proper utilisation of public resources for a better Kenya. I will not relent on the war against Corruption,” he said.

He announced this on Friday before flying to New York for the United Nations General Assembly. 

The Bill, passed by the National Assembly, reflects the Uhuru’s recommendations for a reduction of VAT on petroleum products from 16 to 8 per cent among other amendments on various taxes.

Uhuru also signed into law the Coast Guard Bill 2018 which marks an important milestone in the management and enforcement of laws in Kenya’s internal and territorial waters.

The Coast Guard Act 2018 establishes the Kenya Coast Guard Service which will be responsible for enforcing maritime security and safety, pollution control and sanitation measures as well as prosecution of offenders.

The Coast Guard Service will also be responsible for port and coastal security, search and rescue, and the protection of maritime resources including fisheries.

The two Bills were presented to Uhuru for signing by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.

Present during the signing at State House, Nairobi, were Deputy President William Ruto, Majority Leader Aden Duale and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.

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Others were National Treasury CS Henry Rotich, Attorney General Paul Kihara Kariuki, Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge and Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto.

This was after tempers flared in the House amid accusations of betrayal as Muturi on Thursday evening rammed through Uhuru’s memorandum on the Finance Bill.

The import of Thursday’s chaotic and sometimes absurd proceedings is that taxpayers will start paying the eight per cent levy on petroleum products, down from the current 16 per cent that took effect on September 1.

There is also a reduction of taxes on betting and gaming while those in employment will pay a new levy of 1.5% to the Housing Fund.

For almost four hours MPs from both sides of the House chanted “Duale must go! Muturi must go!”.

They also danced inside and outside the chamber after a dispute arose over an earlier vote that seemed to favour those opposed to the memorandum.

Read: Chaos as MPs lose fight against fuel tax

Read:Duale apologises over MPs’ unruly acts in 8% fuel tax protests 

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Kenya: House Prices Decelerate as Demand Remains Depressed

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Nairobi — The price of houses continued to decline in the first quarter of 2020 in a trend compounded by constrained ability of potential buyers to afford homes

currently on offer in the market, according to the Kenya Bankers Association House Price Index (KBA-HPI).

According to the Index, house prices decelerated by 0.54 percent in the reviewed period,marginally reversing the decline by 0.07 percent from the 0.61 percent negative growth rate

reported in the fourth quarter of 2019. By the KBA-HPI measure, house prices have remained in the deceleration path for the fifth consecutive quarter.

“While the market remained largely depressed, the marginal easing was supported by the supply-demand interaction with a leaning towards more demand in a relative context,” the

KBA-HPI indicates, adding that demand shifts in the quarter were based on concluded sales, which rose by 13.95 percent.

The sale numbers point to a market where bungalows accounted for a 33 percent demand increase while the demand for bungalows and maisonettes went down by 95.9 percent

and 57.1 percent respectively during the quarter. The trend, according to the Index, reflects buyers’ adjustments with affordability being a key concern in the housing market.

“The decelerating price trend is evidence of a property market with a distinct lack of momentum and characterized by a sign of normalization of house prices as the market