PUBLIC HEARINGS ON FINANCE BILL CONTINUE
The National Assembly Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning chaired by Hon. Kuria Kimani (Molo) continued receiving views on the Finance Bill (2023) from members of the public.
First to appear before the Committee first were officials from the Media Owners Association (MOA), who expressed reservations about the proposal to introduce a 15 percent withholding tax on digital content monetization. According to the officials, the amounts are quite nominal considering that the general public who subscribe to such information would be required to withhold tax when paying subscriptions.
Next t make submissions were officials from the National Council of NGOs who supported the proposals to have local fishermen have a wider market when higher taxation is imposed on foreign fish, the reduction of excise on bank charges from 20 percent to 13 percent, and the tax incentives that will be imposed on locally produced tea, as this will help boost the VAT.
Cemtech Limited, a consortium that supports SMEs in the manufacturing sector supported the introduction of a new Section 7A to introduce the Export and Investment Promotion Levy rate of 10 percent of the customs value of cement clinkers, semi-finished products of iron or non-alloy steel, uncoated kraft paper and paper boards.
Echo Network Africa, a women-led, women-serving institution, and the Democracy Trust Fund made submissions regarding the taxation of crowdfunding., which they suggested be reconsidered. They argued that crowdfunding is mainly used to raise funds for medical, educational, and not-for-profit initiatives. They observed that taxing such resources would kill the old-age tradition of local philanthropy which has been a bedrock of support for millions of poor and needy Kenyans.
The Sugar Campaign for Change (SUCAM), chaired by former MP for Webuye West, Hon. Saulo Busolo, made proposals on the cost of farm inputs such as fertilizer, pests, and seed cane. They noted this cost has led to a significant decline in sugar production. since 2012.
Stakeholders from the Kenya Economic Youth Network (KEYET) and Kakamega County Civil Society Organizations Network (KCCSO) proposed the retention of the annual inflation adjustment for all tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
They told the Committee that the removal of the annual inflation could lead to revenue loss at a time when the Government is struggling to raise revenue. The stakeholders also claimed that it could have negative health and economic effects and will only benefit manufacturers.
Coca-cola Beverages Africa in their submissions focused on the proposed increase in the rate of turnover tax from one percent to three percent. They expressed a view that it would impact SMEs from a cash flow perspective. They pointed out that most SMEs are recovering from the covid pandemic and the high inflationary environment that continues to affect their sustainability.