President Uhuru Kenyatta has recommended a 35% betting tax rate in order to discourage gambling among the Kenyan youths.
The president refused to consent to the Finance Bill, 2017, which was vested with the role of amending numerous taxes and duties laws.
In his memorandum to the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi, the president noted his reason for rejecting the Bill to be the Parliaments’ removal of a clause devised to deter betting activities among the Kenyan youths.
The president’s proposal pointed out, that “the purpose of the amendment of Section 59 B of Cap 469 was to discourage Kenyans, especially the youth, from betting, lottery and gaming activities instead of productive economic engagement, a vice that is likely to degenerate into a social disaster.”
Uhuru said that the parliament passed the bill but completely ignored the substituting of the word “fifteen” with “fifty.”
“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 substitution, therefore, the word ‘fifty’ was however dropped when Parliament passed the Bill.” the president’s proposal reads.
Uhuru further added that; “This totally negates the spirit underlying the proposal to have the betting tax raised as pointed above.”
The president stated that in the 29. Section 59B of the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act’ the word “fifteen” is to be replaced with “thirty-five” which would agree with his new recommendation.
Back in March, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich stated that the gambling business was growing at an alarming rate thus the need to raise taxes to check its irregularities.
He proposed that the taxes be raised from 7.5 percent (betting), 12 percent (lottery), 15 percent (gaming) and 15 percent (competition), to the 50 percent for each category.
The president acknowledged the move, however, following an outcry from betting, gaming and lottery business owners, he said that the companies could hold a negotiation meeting with the relevant government organisations.
“I know there is a big cry in the gaming industry because of the 50 percent tax but we can sit down and engage with the affected parties,” the president said.
Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo, who drafted the gambling bill warned of the dangers of gambling activities on the nation’s economy. He also called for the need for utmost caution to be applied when dealing with the gamblers.