National Times – The government of Kenya has announced plans to start imposing taxes on online streaming giants as other European countries maul new digital tax plans too.
Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) announced it is preparing to introduce the new taxes on Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, among many other digital companies.
According to the Director-General of the Communications Authority, Francis Wangusi, online content providers exploit the Kenyan industry and most times neither the government, artiste or other content creators benefit from them.
“Many countries, especially developed ones have policies that guide these services, and that is where we are heading to as a country,” Wangusi said, adding that these international online streaming companies services have placed a strain on other local entertainment channels.
France has recently announced new measures to tax online companies. The French Senate in July approved a 3% levy that will apply to revenue from digital services earned in France by companies with more than 25 million euros in French revenue and 750 million euros ($838 million) worldwide. This law is more expansive than the law under consideration by the Kenyan government.
However, it is one of the first effort by an African state towards addressing one of the biggest threats to public revenue across the continent. Currently digital providers like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Baidu make billions from Africa, but do not pay taxes to the African government.
This is particularly devastating because the rise of online social media giants like Facebook is leading to the closure of hundreds of media agencies across Africa, loss of jobs, and the revenue for government.