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Kenya’s president assures fund management after signing finance bill.



“I will ensure proper utilization of public resources for a better Kenya. I will not relent on the war against corruption,” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta wrote on his Twitter feed after he signed a new finance bill into law on Friday, cutting in half a new fuel tax that had led to public anger and strikes but stopping short of demands to scrap or delay it.

The government, under pressure to hit IMF-mandated fiscal deficit targets, had faced a fuel dealers’ strike, anger among commuters and a lawsuit after transport and fuel prices jumped when a 16 percent value-added tax (VAT) on all petroleum products entered into force on Sept. 1.

Plans for the tax on fuel had been postponed several times since 2013. Parliament voted last month to delay it for another two years, but President Uhuru Kenyatta returned the bill to lawmakers with the suggestion they cut it to 8 percent instead.

Parliament approved the bill with the lower rate on Thursday during an acrimonious session marked by loud protests from lawmakers. The bill also adds other new taxes, and authorises revenue collection and spending through June 2019.

Kenyans have been angered by the new taxes, accusing authorities of forcing them to dig deeper into their pockets, while the government presides over wastage of its revenue through theft and corruption.


Courts have charged dozens of senior government officials and business people with crimes related to corruption in a new crackdown this year.

An IMF stand-by credit facility for balance of payments support expired last week, complicating Kenya’s economic outlook at a time when emerging markets have entered into turmoil as contagion from Turkey and Argentina spreads.

Kenyan assets have had a mixed reaction to the wider emerging markets turbulence and the government’s fiscal challenges at home.

Investors who use dollars as their base currency would have lost 5.7 percent on Kenyan bonds since the start of the year, currently one of the worst performances across emerging markets this year barring the main trouble spots of Turkey, Argentina and Venezuela.

The Kenyan shilling weakened against the dollar after the expiry of the IMF facility last week but it has since recouped its losses.

On the stock market, the benchmark NSE-20 share index and the all share index are firmly in bear territory, having lost 20 percent of their value in recent weeks from their peaks this year.

Yields on the local government debt market have however held steady mainly due to a cap on commercial lending rates, which market participants said was putting a lid on the yields.

Out in the real economy, ordinary people said the new tax on fuel was already biting.

“Customers are complaining because they have to spend more,” said John Thuita, a petrol pump attendant in Nairobi.

“If a customer used to come after a week, now they are coming back before the week is over.”


Motherland News

Nigeria General Elections postponement not politically influenced – INEC



Nigeria’s electoral body, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cleared the air, saying its decision to postpone the general elections a few hours to the commencement was not politically influenced.

INEC chairman Mahmoud Yakubu said at a press conference that “The decision has nothing to do with security, nothing to do with political influence and nothing to do with lack of resources.”

The postponement heightens the political tensions in the country, especially between the ruling All Progressives Congress and the main opposition People’s Democratic Party.


The parties have accused INEC of kowtowing down to the political influence exerted by either party to postpone the elections which ought to begin the presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday, February 16 2019.

PDP and APC faulted INEC’s decision to reschedule the presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on February 23 while the governorship and state houses of assembly elections will take place on March 9.


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Motherland News

Nigeria: Reactions trail INEC Postponement of 2019 General Elections



Reactions have trailed the decision of The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to postpone the Presidential and National Assembly elections earlier slated for today by a week, citing operational difficulties.

Prior to the postponement of the election, the PDP accused INEC of hoarding the presidential and senatorial elections result sheets for undisclosed reasons.

The party also revealed that its monitoring and intelligence showed that INEC had been distributing sensitive election materials in most states of the federation without the Presidential and Senatorial elections results sheets.

The National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement said that the party’s agents were being denied the INEC accreditation and identification cards, ostensibly to shut them out of the election monitoring process and allow the APC a field day to manipulate the process.

According to him, “The development is already heightening tension and suspicion of underhand method by the commission to open the elections for manipulations and allow the APC to enter fictitious results for onward transmission to collation centres.”

The PDP also rejected alleged substitution of the already trained INEC adhoc staff in various states of the federation with members of the APC.

The party said that PDP would never allow “this unscrupulous attempt at power hijack to stand.”

He stated, “This surreptitious ploy to use APC members as polling staff is a direct template by the APC in collusion with some INEC officials, to rig the elections for the APC.

“This affront to the collective quest by the people for a credible election is akin to sitting our nation on a keg of gunpowder.”

A renowned political analyst in Lagos state, Isaac Abiola on his part expressed displeasure at the postponement, citing the electoral body’s insincerity the worrisome part.

Mr Abiola said “I am disappointed with INEC. It is obvious that they are not sincere with us. INEC till 11:30pm yesterday claimed to have been ready and even tweeted that their situation room was ready. It is not a must to conduct elections when you are not fully ready. But the decision to postponed should have been reached and announced at least 24hrs before election. Why announce 2:30am when people were sleeping. I feel there is an arrangement somewhere.”


Also Reacting to the postponement, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ahmed Raji, noted that if the postponement was towards achieving a credible, free and acceptable election, it is in order. According to him, if the reason for the postponment is actually on logistics as it is being said, it is okay instead of the Commission to go ahead and conduct an election that would put it to ridicule both locally and internationally.

Raji, while stating that it is high time Nigerians begin to see election as a process, observed that budgetary allocation for the elections came a little bit late.

According to him election materials are not things people just pick from the shop, hence the commission needs adequate time to plan and arrange for some of this materials.


On the ruling party’s side, Arc Waziri Bulama, the deputy director general of APC presidential campaign council disclosed the party’s readiness for the forthcoming general elections dismissing claims that the APC was looking for a postponement of the polls. Bulama who disclosed this on Wednesday, February 13, stated that the council had carried its campaign all over the country. He said the responsibilities of leaders was to deliver good governance, secure the lives of Nigerians, ensure that they promote justice, rule of law, peace and freedom through their actions.

Meanwhile, the opposition People’s Democratic Party presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar said the postponement of the general election by Independent National Electoral Commission is “obviously a case of the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob.”

“The Buhari administration has had more than enough time and money to prepare for these elections and the Nigerian people were poised and ready to perform their civic responsibility by voting in the elections earlier scheduled for Saturday, 16 February, 2019,” Atiku said in a stateemnt on Saturday.

“By instigating this postponement, the Buhari administration hopes to disenfranchise the Nigerian electorate in order to ensure that turn out is low on the rescheduled date,” he added.

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