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Relax taxes on artistes, counties told


FROM LEFT; Deputy kakamega County Commissioner Michael Atuor, KFCB CEO Ezekiel Mutua and Kenya Law Review Commission CEO Joash Dache in Kakamega

County governments have been accused of being impediments to the growth of talent in the film industry through unnecessary taxes.

The Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC) and Kenya Film and Classification Board (KFCB) want counties to do away with some taxes they termed dubious.

KLRC Chief Executive Joash Dache and KFCB’s Ezekiel Mutua said conflicting legislation at county level was also killing upcoming talent.

They said national legislation that allowed KFCB to tax thespians and film makers prevailed over county laws because it was applied uniformly.

“It is very clear that the KFCB licenses artistes but a few counties, contrary to Article 191, levy more taxes on film makers who already have the KFCB licence that allows them to operate anywhere in the country. Counties can levy charges for services they offer such as venues for shooting the film without introducing another licence to conflict with the one from KFCB,” said Mr Dache.

“The law discourages counties from imposing taxes in a way that prejudices economic policies and activities across county boundaries or the national mobility of goods, services, capital or labour.”

Mr Mutua said many upcoming artistes were jobless youths who could not handle additional taxes.

“The only thing most of these artistes have is talent. They feel discouraged when we license them at national level and then some counties demand another Sh150,000 through duplicated laws before allowing them to produce films. Kilifi and Kajiado have not been good examples of promoting talent because of these notorious laws,” he said.

They spoke during a forum to help align laws guiding film production to the Constitution.

The laws on film production, under Cap 222, were created in 1963 and could be relics in the face of the 2010 Constitution and emerging technology such as social media.

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