government increases airtime and internet taxes.



by Helvine Achieng June 23, 2021

The Kenyan National Assembly Finance Committee has recently introduced a raft of taxes in the Finance Bill 2021. In the bill, which was tabled in the National Assembly on Tuesday, June 23, MP's have proposed to increase excise duty on airtime and internet usage. The move is expected to increase the cost of making calls and browsing in the country, with millions of Kenyans already spending vast amounts on the services.

In 2020, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) declared airtime as the single item that takes up the biggest chunk of individuals' income. The statistics was based on a consumer price index study which gave airtime a weight of 5.496, making it the largest of any single consumer product.

Three years ago, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) collected excise taxes valued at Sh26.3 billion from airtime, which marked a significant growth of 63 per cent from Sh16.1 billion the previous year. According to the latest technology penetration statistics, Kenya has about 21 million internet users and 59 million registered sim cards, meaning more Kenyans have joined the population affected if the new tax is approved.