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Ruto government proposes introduction of new TV tax

Government propose new tax targeting TV stations airing foreign soap operas in an effort to promote local content.

In an effort to encourage local programming, the government has proposed imposing a tax of 50% or possibly higher on the revenue that television stations make from airing foreign soap operas. 

Speaking during the first ever Kenya film summit, held at Nairobi Cinema on Friday, Digital Strategist Dennis Itumbi hinted at the government’s plans to introduce a Film Funding model.

According to the proposal,  a huge portion of the funding will be sourced from local television stations minting huge revenues from syndicating soap operas from international broadcasters at cheap rates.

However, local television stations that air local soap operas will not be subject to this levy, supporting the government’s goal of fostering the local film sector.

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“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,” the Digital Strategist said during the event.

Film funding will primarily come from taxation on broadcasters airing telenovelas, which the government points out will encourage them to focus on local production. 

“So you show telenovelas 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, Dennis Itumbi stated.

The inaugural Film Industry Summit in Kenya stands as a dedicated platform, committed to realising the full potential of the film industry.

According to the government, banking on local film production will generate employment and foster national development.

This comes after the government, earlier in the year, passed the Finance Bill, that imposed 5% tax on digital social media content creators. 

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