Kenyan MPs Approve New Taxes to Boost Revenue During Pandemic

Kenya’s National Assembly approved a raft of tax measures, including a charge on all companies as the government seeks to boost revenue and navigates the coronavirus fallout.

Lawmakers approved the Finance Bill 2020 which includes a minimum tax of 1% on gross turnover. The measure could raise about 21 billion shillings ($197 million) yearly, said finance committee Chairman Joseph Limo. It will also ensure companies that perennially report losses also contribute to government programs, according to the committee.

Kenya is looking to raise money to fund its 2.8 trillion-shilling budget for the next fiscal year, and help boost an economy battered the virus. The government wants to narrow its budget gap to 7.5% of gross domestic product in the year starting July.

The lawmakers also approved a 1.5% digital levy targeted at non-resident companies that derive income from Kenya including taxi-hailing platforms and streaming sites. That could raise about 2 billion shillings, according to the National Assembly.

The legislature will submit the bill to President Uhuru Kenyatta to sign into law before the new fiscal year begins on July 1.

The lawmakers also approved:

  • Zero-rating value-added tax on wheat and maize flour
  • Removal of excise duty on betting
  • Rental income tax of 10% on gross income; capped annual rental income to be taxed at 15 million shillings from 10 million shillings
  • Capital Markets Authority to regulate private equity- and venture-capital firms that have access to public funds including pensions

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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