Govt denies removing betting tax, blames Parliament for changes

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The National Treasury on Thursday issued a statement on behalf of the government where it denied that the Executive had dropped the excise duty on betting stakes and winnings.

Treasury CS Ukur Yatani said the changes in Finance Bill 2020 were not introduced by the Executive which is headed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, but were made in Parliament at Committee stage.

The CS said the government would reintroduce the changes within six months.

The National Assembly and Planning has noted the various reports in the print media alleging that the Government has reneged on this commitment on taxation of the betting industry. This follow the enactment of the Finance Act, 2020 that removed excise duty on betting."

The removal of this tax happened during the Committee stage of the Bill. Following various consultations and in line with the Government’s commitment on mitigating against the social vices associated with betting activities. The National Treasury, the reintroduction of the excise duty on betting within next six months," Yatani said.

The development came amid murmurs in social media circles after it emerged that President Kenyatta's relative, Peter Kihanya, had acquired a stake in betting firm Sportpesa.

Sportpesa has the largest share market in Kenya before its exit in September which it attributed to the 20 percent excise duty on stakes.

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