Blow to betting firms as Uhuru recommends 35pc tax

President Uhuru Kenyatta has recommended that betting, lotteries and gaming activities should pay 35 per cent tax.

The President made the recommendation in a memorandum to the Speaker of the National Assembly after rejecting to assent to the Finance Bill, 2017, which was meant to amend the laws relating to various taxes and duties.

President Kenyatta said he has rejected the Bill because Parliament deleted the clause that was designed to discourage the youth from engaging in betting.

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.”

The proposal, which read, “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 the President in his proposal signed Tuesday.

MPs threw out a proposal by the National Treasury to increase their taxes after paying out winnings to 50 per cent.

They rejected the compromise 35 per cent tax proposal presented by Majority Leader Aden Duale, arguing that they were illegal because the Finance Committee had not been consulted.

The Finance, Trade and Planning Committee received the backing of MPs and successfully argued that the 50 per cent that had been approved last week was too high and likely to kill the business.

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