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President Ruto: Digital tax on content creators not going away

President William Ruto has said the government will not scrap a proposal to have digital content creators taxed but will find a way to ensure that they will not be greatly affected.

Speaking at State House while hosting the 2023 Drama and Film Festival finalists, President Ruto asked the creative community to give his government time as it works on a plan but also reminded creatives that paying tax is the obligation of every Kenyan citizen.

“I know when I say monetising the tax man is also listening whenever they see some people making money in some corner they arrive. I know there is a proposal in this year’s budget and digital content creators are making a statement I have told the ICT committee and the finance committee to work on it. Let us give them a bit more space to arrange themselves, but at the end wont we all pay tax. But we have heard you and we are going to work together to make sure that that does not work against what you want to do,” President Ruto said.

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According to the Head of State, one of the initiatives his government is working on to encourage self-employment through content creation is the realisation of 25,000 internet hotspots around the country by the year 2025.

“We have also agreed that every Member of Parliament must also work with us so that we have an ICT hub in every ward. We are rolling out 100,000 kilometres of fibre around Kenya in the next three years, and it is because we want our young people to access digital jobs and we have millions of digital jobs available,” the President said.

“We also want to make it easier for our content creators using access to technology. As we roll out the fibre optic around Kenya and provide internet we are going to have 25,000 hotspots around Kenya where internet is going to be free. We have already done the first 50 by end of 2025 the ministry of ICT promises me we will have 25,000 free internet spots in Kenya where people can work online or create content without having to pay, and we are working together around monetizing the creative space,” he added.

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President Ruto said that millions of youth are jobless because the previous regimes never thought through on what happens to individuals after competing their secondary and tertiary education.

“We invest Sh650 billion every year in our education we must think through it, it is not enough. It is also important for us to know what this end product going to do. And that is why we are working on all fronts the ministry of ICT has been taxed to work with industries, we are today distributing 22,000 computers in our TVETs,” President Ruto said.

“I was deliberate when forming government on matters creative economy I consolidated many of the arts issues arund the ministry of sports and art under Ababu Namwamba. It is the reason why Talanta Hela is our programme which will give us the opportunity to monetise, commercialise and to profile positively our men and women in the creative industry,” he said.

If the proposed Finance Bill 2023 is passed, digital content creators will be slapped with a 15 per cent withholding tax on digital content monetisation.

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