Kenya Government is proposing to increase excise duty that will affect internet and airtime cost.
How much money do you use on airtime in a month? Once you’ve answered that, think about the millions of people who rely on the internet especially since the pandemic started, you’re probably one of them if you’re reading this. Internet and airtime are both necessities in the average Kenyan household.
The Government has eyed every sector starting from social media influencers and now MPs have proposed an increase in excise duty on airtime and data from the current 15% to 20%. As per the calculations this would mean that they would be able to raise KSh 8 billion from Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya.
Will the President accept?
The MPs have made their proposal however the President is the one who can implement this new suggested taxes that could instantly make bank loans, internet access and mobile phone calls costlier than they already are.
President Kenyatta could either accept or reject the new proposed taxes as the ball is now on his court. Let’s not forget that the government took out 15% VAT on bread and though it was a relief for many it seems we can never catch a break. Let’s not forget that this proposal was not in the Finance bill so we wonder what happened between then and now.
Tough economical times ahead.
Before the pandemic joblessness and poverty was still existent however after the pandemic crime and other mental disorders are on the rise. If this proposal is passed it means that there will be a reduced usage of internet which helps millions of Kenyans connect to employment and education. As we’re trying to be a tech savvy country this move will not aid the youth in exploiting their online opportunities.
We can’t also fail to ignore the countless young people who rely on the internet to make a living, the ones who cannot afford to pay for a monthly WiFi package but rely on hourly bundles and if this is passed then that changes their budgets too, so what next?
A majority of Kenyans are barely surviving and the government is targeting any service they can sniff money from, be it the gaming industry, the betting and lottery tax which will go up from 20% to 30% and let’s not forget that there’s a proposed fuel increase. Question is, what will the common mwananchi do? where will they eat from? people are already living in debt, some have suffered salary cuts and now the government wants to affect our sin taxes too, basically alcohol, cigarettes and even basic commodities. When does it all end?