Kenyans shocked as President Kenyatta proposes tax on internet services

Nduta Waweru Sep 19, 2018 at 02:18am

September 19, 2018 at 02:18 am | News

Nduta Waweru

Nduta Waweru | Contributor

September 19, 2018 at 02:18 am | News

President Uhuru Kenyatta has proposed an internet tax as part of the amendments of the country’s Finance Act, shocking many Kenyans.

The tax will be charged at 15 per cent and will also apply to telephone services, which was previously taxed at 10 per cent.

“Telephone and internet data services shall be charged excise duty at a rate of 15 per cent of their excisable value,” reads the proposal.

The amendment also includes an increased tax on all money transfer services from the previous 10 per cent to 20 per cent.  This tax will affect money transfer via mobile, banks, agencies and other financial service providers.

The move has shocked many across Kenya, where 52 per cent of the population can access the internet as of 2016 according to the GSM Association. Kenya is among African nations with cheap internet services, but the new levy will see the cost going up.

Many have questioned the move since the government has been, for the longest time, encouraging internet use with an online training program that enabled Kenyans to find employment and earn some money. It has also been encouraging Kenyans to use online government platforms such as e-Citizen to conduct vital services such as the application for identity cards, driving licenses and passports, among others.

Kenya now joins Uganda, Zambia and Benin as the leading African countries to tax internet services.

In Uganda, citizens are required to pay a daily  USH 200 (less than a dollar)  for using social media and a one per cent levy on mobile money.

In Zambia, the tax has been levied on internet calls at $0.03 a day.

In Benin, people will be taxed 5 CFA francs ($0.008) per megabyte used through social media apps, and another 5% levy on texting and calls.

It is now up to the Kenyan Parliament to approve the proposal and send it back to President Kenyatta for assent.

Here’s how Kenyans reacted:

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