Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba has revealed that the government will soon impose a Blank Tape Tax charged on purchases of electronic devices.
While speaking exclusively to Kenyans.co.ke, on Friday, August 25, Ababu noted that Blank Tape Tax will be levied on all digital and electronic devices with the ability to record or produce internet content.
The tax will be imposed on all imported devices, including mobile phones from foreign manufacturers, which have for years enjoyed little taxation in Kenya.
Purposefully, Blank Tape Tax will be used to enhance digital content creation in the country. The Cabinet Secretary argued that the Blank Tape Tax is necessary to protect the rights of copyright holders and content creators in the country.
"The Blank Tape Levy will be very significant and will make the collection of royalties go up ten-fold. This tax will be levied on any gadget that has recording capability.
"It will be imposed on any device including this camera which you are using or a mobile phone that is imported into the country from other countries," Ababu explained.
According to CS Namwamba, the tax will significantly impact online content consumers, noting that the subsequent programmes will expand the country's digital economy.
He added that the new levy is part of President William Ruto's plan to expand the internet economy for content creators, including musicians, who he promised will soon start earning more money from their creative work.
Despite the plans being perceived as ambitious, Ruto was keen on ensuring the government successfully implemented it.
According to the CS, the revenue generated from the levy will be used to establish key facilities all over the country, including digital content creators' academies, which will train and upskill creatives.
"We are revamping the exercise of royalties collection because that is where the problem is. We are implementing a digital system that will help us collect the royalties digitally.
"The government is also expanding the tax base. I have gazetted new tariffs for collection of royalties for our content creators," the Sports Cabinet Secretary disclosed.
The money will also be used to promote Kenyan content creators both domestically and internationally. Such a move would help raise the Kenyan content profile and create new opportunities for creators to reach a wider audience.
CS Ababu further observed that if implemented effectively, the policies could help transform the Kenyan creative economy and make it a major economic growth and development driver.