Uhuru rejects MPs’ 15pc tax on betting

Business Daily Kenya:  Betting firms yesterday suffered a major setback after President Uhuru Kenyatta rejected the Finance Bill 2017 and r...

Business Daily Kenya: 

Betting business. Photo/Courtesy

Betting firms yesterday suffered a major setback after President Uhuru Kenyatta rejected the Finance Bill 2017 and recommended that betting, lotteries and gaming activities be instead taxed at the rate of 35 per cent.

In a memorandum to the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi, Uhuru said he refused to assent to the Bill, which was meant to amend the laws relating to various taxes and duties, because Parliament deleted the clause designed to discourage the youth from engaging in betting-related activities.

“The purpose of Amendment of Section 59 B of Cap 469 was to “discourage Kenyans, and especially the youth, in directing their focus on betting, lottery and gaming activities instead of productive economic engagement, a vice that is likely to degenerate into a social disaster,” read the memo in part.

Last month a group of MPs drawn from Finance, Trade and Planning Committee shot down the proposal by National Treasury to raise taxes on betting, lottery, gaming and competition to 50 per cent, recommending 7.5 per cent, five per cent, 12 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively, in a move seen at the time to make a departure from the initially proposed uniform tax rate of 50 per cent.

This new development is a big blow to MPs led by Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba and the Finance committee, whose recommendations could be put to test when debate on the bill kicks off, and face opposition from members such as Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo and Majority Party leader Aden Duale.

The 50 per cent proposal was meant to develop the country’s sports and arts, according to Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich whose office had made the suggestion in the 2017/2018 Budget Statement.

“29. Section 59B of the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act is amended in subsection (1) by deleting the word “fifteen” and substituting therefor the word “fifty” was however dropped when Parliament passed the Bill.

“This totally negates the spirit underlying the proposal to have the betting tax raised as pointed above,” said Uhuru in the proposal signed last evening.

He has recommended that Clause 29 of the Bill be reinstated with amendment to read: “Section 59B of the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act is amended in subsection (1) by deleting the word “fifteen” and substituting therefor the words “thirty-five.”

The post Uhuru rejects MPs’ 15pc tax on betting appeared first on Mediamax Network Limited.

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