Kenya TNA rushes to pass through 35% gambling blanket tax charge

Kenya’s National Alliance (TNA) government has reduced its blanket industry tax charge to 35% on all gambling activities following backlash from multiple stakeholders.

Last March Kenya’s Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich presented a National Budget proposing a betting/gambling ‘all activities’ tax duty of 50%. Kenya betting industry and sports stakeholders immediately moved to halt Rotich’s tax proposal, stating that he acted without any prior consultation and that his plans would kill a tax effective industry for Kenya.

Opponents of the tax charge had asked President Uhuru Kenyatta and TNA officials to review its proposal, stating that the government should drop or drastically change industry tax provisions from this year’s budget. The TNA detailed in April that it had begun its industry taxation review.

Yesterday, the TNA passed its new budget with gambling tax provisions set at 35%. The TNA has come under criticism from opposition stating that it set a 35% charge in order to pass the budget ahead of the Parliamentary recess (16 June).

Kenyan betting industry stakeholders are pondering whether the TNA ever undertook an industry review, and how a 35% tax charge (current rate – 7.5%) will solve concerns relating to double taxation practices, which stakeholders initially raised with the TNA.

This 8 August Kenya will host its General Election, which will pitch Uhuru Kenyatta TNA against main opposition leader Ralia Odinga of the ODM (Orange Democratic Party), who have accused the government of rushing to implement an ineffective budget prior to the elections.