Kenyan gov’t moves to reduce prices of basic commodities, betting industry biggest “loser”

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In Kenya, the Treasury secretary has waived import duty on white maize and removed Value Added Tax on processed flour to reduce prices of basic commodities.

Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich’s tax interventions meant to counter rising inflation and intervene on  crisis as a result of ravaging drought.

He warned millers and bread manufacturers of a reversal should they fail to pass the benefits to the consumers.

The government has also proposed to raid betting, lottery, gaming and competition firms with a heavy 50 per cent tax for all categories. The proceeds, according to the budget plan, will be put in the newly created National Sports, Culture and Arts Fund to support development of sports, culture and arts in Kenya. Betting has been on the rise in Kenya with firm making colossal profits on enthusiasts eager to make quick money from the jackpots.

The Cabinet Secretary however said the environment is inadequately regulated.

“The expansion of the industry has had negative social effects on society, especially on the youths and vulnerable members of the society,” Rotich said.

He proposed the taxes be raised from 7.5 per cent (betting), 12 per cent (lottery), 15 per cent (gaming) and 15 per cent (competition), to the 50 per cent.

In February, the Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner General told the National Assembly that the agency collected about Sh4.7 billion in corporate tax from betting firms in the last three financial years.

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