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Dennis Itumbi hints at new TV tax being imposed by Ruto's government

According to Itumbi, the tax will be at the center of a Film Funding model to support local content producers and grow Kenya's film industry

Dennis Itumbi

Digital Strategist Dennis Itumbi who is an insider in President William Ruto’s government has hinted at the government’s plans to tax TV stations in a bid to boost local film industry.

According to Itumbi, TV stations airing foreign soap operas could soon be slapped with a 50% tax or more.

Itumbi who was speaking at the inaugural Kenya Film Summit, held at Nairobi Cinema on Friday noted that the tax will be at the center of a Film Funding model under consideration by the government to promote local content.

“Most of our TV stations show soap operas and those are not subject to tax. Because they come in a flash disk and they start airing,” Itumbi stated at the event.

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He noted that once the same is rolled out, TV stations that have traditionally evaded taxes by airing foreign content will play their part in supporting the local film industry with a huge portion of the funding will be sourced from them.

Those who air local content will however be exempted in the move that Itumbi maintained, is designed to support local content producers and grow Kenya's film industry.

“So you show telenovas you have been escaping from tax for a long time it will be fifty-fifty, or even higher than fifty percent, because we have local programs here why not show them?” Itumbi slammed.

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Government's focus on creative economy

The Kenya Kwanza administration has rolled out various initiatives to support the creative economy and empower content creators to monetize their content and earn from it.

President William Ruto revealed that the government plans to work with county governments to establish fully equipped studios in all the devolved units to tap the full potential of creatives all over the country.

“We are fashioning the law and are already working on a Creatives Bill that is going to make sure that the Creative Commission of Kenya will not only have a professional studio in Nairobi, but in every county in Kenya.

“I have given Ababu Namwamba and the team a maximum of two months to make sure that the bill finds its way to Parliament,” the President said, adding that the Permanent Presidential Music Commission would be remodeled into the Creative Commission of Kenya.

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Talanta Hela is another initiative that ran into headwinds with Sports and Youth Cabinet Secretaries summoned in parliament to respond to allegations of mismanagement at his ministry.

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