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Kenyan president withdraws tax hikes amid violenผล บอล asilt protests

novation | ผล บอล asil | Updated: 2024-07-24 04:11:39

Kenya's President William Ruto speaks at a press conference after police officers shot protesters demonstrating against Kenya's proposed finance bill 2024/2025 in Nairobi, Kenya on June 25. [Photo/Agencies]

NAIROBI -- Kenyan President William Ruto on Wednesday announced that his government has withdrawn new tax proposals, which had sparked nationwide protests since June 18 when a financial bill was made public for the first time.

At a news conference in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, Ruto said that the government will implement immediate austerity measures to reduce expenditure, including cuts to the presidency's travel budgets and vehicle purchases. These measures will also apply to counties and ministries.

The announcement came after violent protests in Nairobi Tuesday resulted in six deaths and more than 150 injuries. Protesters, chanting anti-government slogans, breached the heavily guarded parliament compound, causing property damage and setting fire to part of the building.

In a televised address Tuesday night, Ruto labeled the protests "treasonous" and promised a swift government response, directing security forces to use all necessary means to prevent future threats to national security.

The protests were triggered by tax hikes in the Financial Bill 2024, which aimed to raise an additional 346.7 billion shillings ($2.67 billion) to fund the government's 31 billion dollar budget for the 2024/2025 financial year. Following the bill's passage in parliament Tuesday, Ruto decided not to sign it, given the public outcry against it.

Ruto, who campaigned on a platform of helping the poor, has faced pressure to increase revenue amid rising government debt repayments.

He said Wednesday that the austerity measures will be applied across all branches of government, including the Executive Office of the President, parliament, and the judiciary. Without the new taxes, some development programs amounting to 1.58 billion dollars could be delayed, postponed or canceled.

Additionally, Ruto vowed to tackle corruption to end wastage, a significant issue highlighted by protesters. To foster unity and address concerns, he announced plans for a meeting with various stakeholders, including the youth, to discuss the country's debt and budget deficits and listen to their views.

"There is a need as a nation to pick up from here and forge ahead together into the future. After getting rid of the Finance Bill, we will have a conversation as a country, how we manage the mounting debt and budget deficits, and we will engage young people and listen to their views," he said.

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