Kenya Says No To Reducing Gambling Tax
Gambling companies have failed in their bid to have Kenya’s burdensome 35 percent gaming tax reduced to 15 percent. MPs rejected the Finance and National Planning Committee’s proposal which aimed to make amendments to Financial Bill 2018.
The committee’s attempt to cut the amount of money that they must funnel to charities and social programs also failed. They wanted the current rate of 25 percent to be reduced to just 5 percent.
MP Mvita Abdulswamad Nassir spearheaded the effort to stop the gaming tax from being reduced. He claimed that his group should have been told how much money the Kenya Revenue Authority has hauled in since implementing the tax and how much it would rake in if the rate was reduced to 15 percent.
Nassir said that he should have proposed an amendment that would have pushed up the tax in order to discourage youth from gambling.
Nassir said that the attempt to have the gaming tax lowered was a crying shame as the surge in all forms of gambling across Kenya has hurt the young according to the legislator. Sabina Chege, who is a Murang’a Women Representative opposed the reduction in gaming taxes and claimed that a lot of people have committed suicide due to gambling debts, kids prefer skipping school to play online and some people are refusing to work because of gambling addiction.
MP Kubai Iringo was also against the proposed tax cut reasoning that Parliament shouldn’t increase the price of food in the country while at the same time allowing tax cuts to gambling operations. He said that it would be a shame if tax cuts were legislated while countries like Italy are banning advertisements for gambling and lotteries.
Cicely Mbarire, who is Runyenjes’ MP, felt surprised that the committee was so quick and easy to give in to the pressure that betting companies put on them. Betting firms have previously lobbied Kenya’s Parliament to lower the gambling tax but all attempts have been unsuccessful. Mbarire stated that she is a wife and a mother who does not want to see her families resources go toward gambling. She said that she was shocked that the Finance and National Planning Committee thought that it was a good idea to reduce the gambling tax from 35% to 15%. She said that Kenya needs to put an end to gambling as young children have been gambling with money that they are given to cover school fees.