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Kenyan outrage over new tax on travellers

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Kenyans are protesting about a directive by the revenue authorities seeking to tax personal or household items worth $500 (£400) and above from visiting tourists and citizens returning to the country.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) says all goods whether new or used over that amount are subject to taxation.

The directive has sparked a public outcry, with many Kenyans saying that the move would scare away tourists.

A section of MPs said some KRA officials had been taking advantage of the directive to harass tourists, giving the country bad publicity.

Tourism Minister Alfred Mutua described the KRA move as one of the reasons the number of tourists visiting the country had been declining.

“You go to Rwanda, they don’t harass you. Does Rwanda not collect taxes? You go to South Africa, and they don’t harass you. In Dubai, they don’t harass you. So, why do our visitors face such challenges in Kenya? And we wonder why people are not coming to Kenya,” Mr Mutua said.

It is the latest in a series of new taxes introduced by President William Ruto’s government. Critics say they are worsening the cost-of-living crisis.

This is despite the fact that Mr Ruto won elections last year with a promise to ease the financial difficulties of families.