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President Kenyatta Turns Down Finance Bill 2018; 16% Fuel Levy Stands

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Last evening, President Kenyatta turned down the Finance Bill 2018 which would have resulted in the postponement of the 16 per cent VAT on petroleum products to 2020. The tax has caused a nationwide outcry as Kenyans grapple with a higher cost of living thanks to increased fuel and transport prices.

Kenyans have been expecting the President to sign the Bill into law, relieving them of the pressure caused by the fuel levy since it came into effect on 1 September 2018.

Intentional Delay to Sign the Bill

President’s Kenyatta’s action puts to rest the accusations that the National Assembly’s Speaker Justin Muturi was intentionally sitting on the Bill instead of forwarding it to the President for signing.

The law requires the President assent to a Bill within 14 days of its receipt or return it to the National assembly “with a memorandum failing which it automatically becomes law.”

Parliament will convene for a special meeting on Tuesday and Thursday next week to discuss the new development.

“The special sittings of the Assembly shall deal with the message of the president in respect of his reservations to the Finance Bill, 2018,” the Speaker said in a notice.

During the sittings, Parliament will also discuss Supplementary estimates 2018 and the readings of the Supplementary Appropriations Bill 2018.

President Kenyatta is expected to make a national address today regarding his decision.

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Canada PM says informal NAFTA talks likely in next few days at U.N.

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MONTREAL (Reuters) – U.S. and Canadian officials trying to reach a deal on NAFTA are “very likely” to hold informal talks on the sidelines of a major U.N. meeting in the next few days, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Sunday.

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau waits for the Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez before a military welcoming ceremony at The Royal Canadian Hussars Armoury in Montreal, Quebec, Canada September 23, 2018. REUTERS/Dario Ayala

With time running out ahead of a U.S.-imposed deadline of the end of September, negotiators are making slow progress on updating the North American Free Trade Agreement.

U.S. President Donald Trump struck a side deal on NAFTA with Mexico last month and has threatened to exclude Canada if necessary. He also said he might impose a 25 percent tariff on Canadian autos exports, which would badly hurt Canada’s economy.

Trump took office last year vowing to tear up NAFTA unless major changes were made to a pact he blames for the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer – the two top officials at the talks – are due to be in New York on Monday and Tuesday for the U.N. General Assembly.

“Certainly the fact that many of our negotiators, many of our teams, will be in New York at the same time (means) it’s very likely that conversations continue in a constructive but less formal way,” Trudeau told reporters.

Trudeau, speaking after talks with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, said nothing had formally been arranged. A Freeland spokesman declined to comment.

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The United States and Canada are divided over the best way to resolve trade disputes and a U.S. demand for more access to Canada’s protected dairy market.

Markets are reacting nervously to uncertainty over the future of the 1994 pact, which underpins $1.2 trillion in annual trade. Over the past 25 years, the three countries’ economies have become increasingly integrated, especially the auto industry.

Canadian negotiators have said they will not be rushed and Trudeau reiterated on Sunday that he would not sign a bad NAFTA deal.

Freeland and Lighthizer met in Washington last Thursday and made little progress. Canada also made clear the United States needed to withdraw the threat of auto tariffs for a deal to be possible.

Reporting by Allison Lampert; Writing by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Cooney

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WPP preparing to merge Young & Rubicam and digital ad firm VML: WSJ

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(Reuters) – The world’s largest advertising company WPP Plc’s (WPP.L) is preparing to consolidate some of its businesses in a bid to keep pace with the industry’s digital shift, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: A logo hangs on the wall outside the WPP offices in London, Britain April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

The company, under its new boss Mark Read, is considering a merger between Young & Rubicam and WPP’s digital-ad firm VML, putting the combined group under the leadership of VML CEO Jon Cook, WSJ reported, citing sources.

There are talks about having the group’s direct-marketing company Wunderman work with its creative firms to provide access to consumer data to help them craft more relevant ads, the WSJ reported, citing a source.

The market leader has been hit hard in the last year as clients have increasingly turn to online platforms such as Google and Facebook to reach consumers.

The group is also recovering from the departure of its founder and veteran CEO Martin Sorrell who left in April after complaint about personal misconduct, which he denied.

WPP was not immediately available to comment on the report.

Reporting by Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru; Editing by Edmund Blair

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European Banking Authority is asked to investigate oversight of Danske Bank

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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – The European Commisssion has asked the European Banking Authority (EBA) to investigate what went wrong in the oversight of Danske Bank’s (DANSKE.CO) Estonian branch, which is at the center of a major money laundering scandal, it said on Sunday, confirming a report in Financial Times.

FILE PHOTO: Danske Bank sign is seen at the bank’s Estonian branch in Tallinn, Estonia August 3, 2018. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

The Commission has also sent letters, written at the request of justice commissioner Vera Jourova, to the Danish and Estonian governments to ask about the case and its supervision, the spokesman said.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Writing by Teis Jensen; Editing by David Goodman

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