Kenya’s finance bill of 2023 contains a raft of proposals that intend to expand the country’s tax bracket.
One of the controversial proposals is aimed at subjecting income earned through digital content monetization to a 15 percent withholding tax.
Eric Omondi, a renown comedian is leading content creators in opposing the proposal.
"Do not attempt, do not think, do not try to tax youth and especially online media. Do not tax content creators because you did not create them, you did not support them. You don’t know who they are, you don’t know their struggles, you have never talked to them. You’ve never called them, you’ve never supported them. You want to tax them, that is theft. You can not take money that does not belong to you", said comedian Eric Omondi.
The content creators decry that the proposed tax is too high for a growing digital economy given that they get minimal government support in content creation.
Ramdee Production host, Ramsey Kigwa, added:
"What we earn on YouTube or other social media platforms can not cater for our needs. So when the government comes in and insist that they want to tax 15% from it, it means that they are leaving us on the negative side", he said.
Economists have also indicated that if approved, the proposal will have major effects on the income earned by individual content creators and the growth of the entire digital economy.
"One of the irony in this digital service tax is holding of 15% on it and remember this is just a withholding tax. Withholding tax is not final so again the digital content creators will be expected to do their books at the end of the year to show how much they earned. In other words after you have paid 15% , you will still be expected to pay what we call a final tax", explained economist Eric Odera.
Africanews correspondent in Kenya's Nairobi, Ronald Agak, added:
"The Finance Bill will be tabled in parliament this Thursday and the focus will now turn on the members of parliament to see whether they will pass it or reject it".