Uhuru finally signs Finance law, betting tax to reach 35%

A file photo of President Uhuru Kenyatta signing laws at State House in Nairobi. /PSCU
A file photo of President Uhuru Kenyatta signing laws at State House in Nairobi. /PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta has finally signed

Finance Bill 2017 and eight others into law.

On June 13, Uhuru refused to sign the Bill and

recommended that betting, lotteries and gaming activities should be taxed at the rate of 35 per cent.

He rejected it

after Parliament deleted a clause designed to discourage youth from engaging in betting.

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The law raises the tax rate on gambling but sets it at a lower rate than had originally been proposed.

It will impose a tax of 35 per cent of gross profits on all gambling.

Until now, lotteries were taxed at five percent, betting firms - bookmakers - at 7.5 per cent, casino gambling at 12 per cent and competitions like raffles at 15 percent.

Treasury CS Henry Rotich had originally proposed raising the tax rate to 50 per cent, saying the rapid growth of on-line gambling hurt the young and vulnerable, and the proceeds from the tax would fund sports, culture and the arts.

The Finance Act seeks to amend the law relating to various taxes and duties. It also seeks to amend laws including:

  1. The Betting, Lotteries and Gambling Act (Cap. 131) to increase the tax rates from the currents rates to 35 per cent
  2. The Kenya Revenue Authority Act (Cap.469) to include newly introduced laws: Tax Procedures Act 2015, Value Added Tax Act 2013, Miscellaneous Fees and Levies Act 2016 and Excise Duty Act 2015 as part of laws administered by the Kenya Revenue Authority.
  3. The Stamp Duty Act (Cap.480) to provide for tax neutrality for Islamic financial products to favourable compete with similar conventional products in Kenyan markets.
  4. The Sacco Societies Act (Cap.490B) to define 'deposits' and 'deposit taking sacco business' to add principles of Islamic law to the Act as a form of recognition of Islamic saccos.

The other Bills Uhuru signed on Wednesday

include Division of Revenue Bill 2017,

Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2017 and Insurance Amendment Bill 2017.

The rest are Health Bill 2015, Hydrologist Bill 2016,

Clinical Officers Bill 2016, Basic Education Amendment Bill 2016 and National Coroners Service Bill 2016.

The Division of Revenue Act seeks to provide for equitable provision of revenue raised between the national and county governments in 2017/18 financial year.

The national government's share is Sh1.2 trillion while the county's allocation is Sh345 billion, an equivalent of 36.95 per cent.

The government share includes a Sh3.4 billion special grant to the National Health Insurance Fund for free maternal healthcare.

The conditional allocation is for leasing medical equipment, level five hospitals, construction of county headquarters and rehabilitation of youth polytechnics.

Supplementary Appropriation Act seeks to authorise the issuance of certain sums of money out of the Consolidated Fund and their application to services for the year ending June 30.

The Act particularly proposes the issuance of Sh31 billion for basic education programmes, university education, power generation and transmission, agriculture, environment management and protection, national referral and specialized Services and water resources management.

BETTER INSURANCE, HEALTH COORDINATION

The Insurance Amendment Bill was submitted by Rotich in line with the proposals announced in the 2017/18 budget/

The law seeks to amend Insurance Act (Cap. 487)

to harmonise the provision following recent amendments to the Act.

It particularly seeks to amend section 41 of the

Insurance Act to prescribe assets that shall not be included for purposes of determining an insurer’s capital adequacy.

It also seeks to amend the Act to define what admitted liabilities are, a term which Insurance Act had not defined.

The Health Act, establishes a unified health system, to coordinate the inter-relationship between the national government and county government health systems.

This will help in regulating healthcare services, their providers, products and technologies.

Thelaw seeks to define how national health policy shall be formulated, implemented and coordinated between the two levels of government.

It seeks to achieve the establishment of a national health system which will progressively realise the right to the highest attainable standard of health, including the right to healthcare services and reproductive health.

The Hydrologist Act

provides for the registration of hydrologists. It establishes a Hydrologist Registration Board which will be responsible for matters including regulating, coordinating and overseeing the practise of hydrology.

The law prescribes the qualifications for registration as a hydrologist and licensing of a person wishing to practise. It

also provides for restrictions on use of titles by non-registered persons.

The Clinical Officers Act provides for the training, registration and licensing of clinical officers.

It establishes the Clinical Officers Council of Kenya which shall be responsible for advising the government on policy matters relating to clinical medicine practise among other things.

SANITARY TOWELS FOR GIRLS

The Basic Education Amendment Act amends basic education Act. It charges the government with the provision of free, sufficient and quality sanitary towels to every girl child registered and enrolled in a basic public

education institution and has reached puberty.

The law says the government will provide a safe and environmental sound mechanism for disposal of the sanitary towels.

It further states that the annual estimates shall make provisions for all the estimated expenditure for the financial year. It shall provide conditional capitation funds to facilitate the acquisition of sufficient and quality sanitary towels for every registered girl who has reached puberty.

The Coroners Service Act establishes a National Coroners Service and provides for its powers and functions.

It also provides for investigation of deaths to determine the identities of the deceased persons, the times and dates of their deaths and the manner and cause of their deaths.

The Bills were presented to the President by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi at State House in Nairobi.

Also present were National Assembly majority leader Aden Duale, Head of Public Service and Chief of Staff Joseph Kinyua, Rotich, Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge, Solicitor General

Njee Muturi and National Assembly Clerk Michael Sialai