Kenyan artistes exempted from excise duty in tax Bill

Members of Sauti Sol band during a past interview in Nairobi.

What you need to know:

  • Ms Wanga also announced plans to bring an amendment to the Copyright Act.
  • The call-back and ring-back tunes sharing formula has for long been a thorny issues.

The National Assembly has exempted Kenyan artistes from the 25% excise duty that had been proposed in the Finance Bill 2021.

Finance Committee chair Gladys Wanga moved the amendments before Parliament on Thursday night.

Ms Wanga said artistes have been getting very little returns from call-back and ring-back Skiza tunes even as mobile operators pocket the lion's share.

"Artistes in this country sweat blood to be able to record and play their music and they are never rewarded. The reward is very small compared to the investment these young artistes make," Ms Wanga said.

In her amendments, the Homa Bay Woman Representative proposed exemption on excisable services supplied in Kenya by mobile telecommunication service provide on the sale of a ring back tune to a subscriber. 

Copyright Act

While criticising the current sharing formula of proceeds from ring-back and call-back tunes, Ms Wanga also announced plans to bring an amendment to the Copyright Act which will see artistes taking the bulk of revenue generated from the sales of the ring-back tunes.

“In the current sharing formula, the artiste gets 16 per cent out of one shilling, taxation is 25 per cent, while Safaricom gets 51 per cent. I undertake to bring an amendment to the Copyright Act so that the sharing arrangement is done in a such a way that the artistes gets the bulk of it,” she said. 

The call-back and ring-back tunes sharing formula has been a thorny issues pitting artistes against service providers and industry regulators.

In April this year, comedian Eddie Butita publicly complained after he received only Sh86 as revenue generated from his single Kidesign.

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