The Government has beaten a retreat on the intention to hike tax on betting firms, saying it is ready to engage industry players, with a view to reviewing the tax proposals.
In his Budget Statement for the 2017/18 financial year, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich proposed to increase taxes for betting and gaming companies to 50 per cent of gross revenues.
He said the proposals, which are now contained in the Finance Bill (2017) tabled in Parliament last week, are expected to curb the negative impact on the country’s youth.
Tax revenues from the gaming industry would go into a kitty supporting sports and culture.
This has led to an outcry, with the companies terming the taxation measures punitive, adding that they would drive them out of business.
But President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday said the Government was ready to review the tax measures. He said the intention of the proposal was not to kill the industry, but to increase the threshold on the people who can gamble on the different platforms.
“The (higher) taxation has made it difficult for them to bet and we are taking the money to causes that benefit the young people,” he said when he launched an information portal highlighting his four-year achievements.
“There has been an outcry that it is too high. It is not an intention to kill the industry. We can review this,” added Uhuru.