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Ignore misleading graphic about Kenya’s 2024 finance bill – it’s not from NTV Kenya

IN SHORT: NTV Kenya has disowned a graphic making false claims about the country’s proposed finance bill. It is designed to muddy the waters over the controversial bill.

“No VAT on bread, motorcycles, condoms, sanitary pads, eggs, milk, animal feeds, pesticides, (internet tax only for foreigners, betting, gaming, lottery and motor vehicle tax at 1% of value of car),” reads text on a graphic posted on social media.

It features a photo of Kenyan finance minister Njuguna Ndung'u and the SMS number 20686 used by NTV Kenya, suggesting that the graphic is from the media station. 

The posts accompanying the graphic claim that there has been misinformation about the proposed finance bill. They include hashtags such as #StopTaxLies and #BreadIsFree, and have been viewed thousands of times.

Kenya’s proposed Finance Bill 2024 was tabled in parliament in May 2024, amid controversy over increased taxation. Once a bill is introduced in parliament, it goes through several key stages before it becomes law. 

It is first read without debate and then referred to the relevant parliamentary committee for detailed scrutiny and public consultation. 

Following the committee’s review and possible amendments, the bill is debated in the national assembly during the second reading. It then undergoes clause-by-clause scrutiny in the committee of the whole house, followed by the third reading, where the final version is voted on. 

If the bill affects county governments, it is sent to the senate for a similar review. Once both houses approve the bill, it is sent to the president for assent. The bill is then published in the Kenya Gazette and becomes law.

But is this graphic an accurate representation of what's in the proposed bill, and has it been shared by NTV Kenya? We checked.

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Misinformation on graphic

A review of the proposed bill and the summaries shows that the graphic contains several inaccuracies. 

  • The bill imposes a 16% standard value-added tax, or VAT, on bread, which was previously zero-rated. Manufacturers later warned that the proposed excise duty on cooking oil would increase the price of bread. But on 13 May, president William Ruto ordered the removal of the tax proposal on bread.
  • For motorcycles, the proposed change is a 10% tax on the value of imported motorcycles, replacing the previous flat-rate system. 
  • Contrary to the graphic’s claim of a 1% tax on cars, the bill actually proposes a 2.5% annual tax on the insured value of cars.
  • The graphic incorrectly claims an “internet tax”. Instead, the bill proposes an increase in the excise duty on internet data and introducing a withholding tax on income from digital marketplaces for both residents and non-residents. The new tax replaces the former digital services tax, imposing a 20% tax on the gross turnover of foreign digital businesses. 
  • The bill does not mention any new taxes on sanitary pads, eggs, milk, animal feed, or pesticides, indicating no change from the previous tax treatment of these items.

Graphic is fake

Given the far-reaching misinformation in this graphic, it is highly unlikely that it would be published by a credible media outlet. 

A search of the social media pages of Nation Media Group, the parent company of NTV Kenya, brings up no such graphic. Instead, the broadcaster marked a blurred version of the graphic as fake.

The graphic is not from NTV Kenya and its contents should be ignored.

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