Popular media personality, Julie Gichuru, on Monday did not waste time to question President Uhuru Kenyatta on a new order affecting betting firms, when she met him at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) during the launch of National Government public information portal.
Julie Gichuru confronts Uhuru, After new order affecting her company
In response, President Kenyatta stated that the tough move was imperative for the Government to take.
When she was given the chance to speak, Ms Gichuru boldly told the Head of State that the 50-percent imposed tax on betting companies will kill the local businesses.
The former news anchor - who is also one of the owners of betting firm, mCHEZA - noted that as an investor, she had taken huge bank loans to avail local opportunity for Kenyans to bet.
She urged the President to reconsider the law because if they are out of business, then Kenyans would easily bet with international companies hence the country lose on the money.
"I am an investor in the gaming industry, huge loans have been taken to build a local business because if we did not come into gaming, people would be gaming on international platforms and all that money will be lost internationally.
"50 percent will kill us. So we do want to pay our tax, we are happy to pay our tax but 50 percent will shut us down and then everyone will go to bet on international platforms and their money will go abroad,” Gichuru stated.
In response, President Kenyatta noted that the move to hike the rate was imperative for the Government to take but assured Ms Gichuru that the Government was not focused on killing the business.
“We were very concerned about the rise in betting especially amongst our school going children. We felt that as a responsible Government we needed to ensure that we made it more difficult for people to bet and indeed those who wanted to bet. That money should go to causes that are social in nature.
“There has been a concern from investors in the gaming industry that we have gone to ohigh. But I would rather go too high than low. I will say, however, let us engage because it is not our intention to kill your industry or sector,” Kenyatta said.
While reading the 2017/2018 budget, National Treasury Henry Rotich proposed that the current 7.5 percent (betting), 12 percent (lottery), 15 percent (competition) be raised to 50 percent.
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