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Kenya: President Vetoes Bill on Price Controls

(Sept. 15, 2010) It was reported on September 1, 2010, that the Kenyan President refused to assent to the Price Control (Essential Goods) Bill, which seeks to authorize the Minister of Finance to set prices of essential goods and criminalize the buying or selling of goods for prices above those set by the Minister (John Ngirachu, Kibaki Declines to Sign Price Control Bill, DAILY NATION ON THE WEB (Sept. 1, 2010),

In a memo he sent to the speaker of the National Assembly, as required under §46 of the Kenyan Constitution, the President outlined two reasons for opposing the bill. One reason was that enacting the bill would violate international agreements that Kenya signed as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), particularly the Agreement on National Treatment, which prohibits price controls. Second, the President contended, the implementation of the provisions of the bill would be impossible to effectively police and might lead to an increase in unscrupulous traders, the opposite of what the bill seeks to achieve (id.).

Under the Kenyan Constitution, a presidential veto can be defeated by a resolution supported by at least 65% of National Assembly members, excluding ex officio members (Constitution of the Republic of Kenya, §46, Kenya Parliament website,
(last visited Sept. 14, 2010).)

The Price Control (Essential Goods) Bill was passed by the 224-member unicameral Kenyan National Assembly on June 23, 2010. (Hanibal Goitom, Parliament Passes Law Authorizing Government to Set Prices of Essential Goods, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (June 30, 2010),