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Uhuru defends 50pc betting tax but willing to engage firms

President Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto engage in a panel discussion during the launch of the portal at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre/PSCU

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 10 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has defended the proposal to increase the tax levied on the betting, lottery and gaming industry to 50 per cent.

President Kenyatta says the decision was taken with a view to address its popularity among the youth but says the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich is willing to engage stakeholders as it is not government’s intention to kill the industry.

The proposal to increase the tax on betting was made by Rotich when he read out the 2017/18 budget statement in Parliament.

President Kenyatta’s announcement came as a as a betting firm moved to court to seek orders nullifying it.

According to Bradley Limited, the taxation measures taken by the CS are biased and violate its legitimate expectation which provides that the burden of taxation be shared fairly.

The firm has accused Rotich of acting unlawfully while arguing that taxation of the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming industry is vested on the Betting Control and Licensing Board.

The applicant says that although Rotich made the announcement during his budget speech, there was no mention of any intention to enhance taxation measures against the lotteries during the Budget Policy Statement issued last November for the 2017/18 financial year.

The betting company further faulted the CS for failing to engage the industry directly before enhancing the taxation proposals.

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