Category Archives: Kenya taxation

Kenya Political Party Financing in 2019

What’s to be learnt about the state of political party finance in Kenya? Some parties have published their unofficial financial results for the year 2019.

Jubilee: The ruling party has income of  Kshs 339 million, that includes 240 million from the Political Parties Fund (PPF) and 98 million from members. They spent 80 million on rent, down from 90 million, 173M on general  expenses and 81 million on secretariat staff and executives.  They have 16 million of property

ODM: The main opposition party received Kshs 112 million from the Political Parties Fund, same as last year, and donations of 78M. They have also booked an astronomical accrued amount from the government of Kshs 6.47 billion. They spent 170 million on administrative expenses, 19M on campaigns, 11M on party policy, 10M on conferences, 3M on branch coordination and just 712,000 on civic education. The amount they are claiming for the government is also listed as a current asset and bumps up their balance sheet from 119 million last year, to 6.5 billion.

Other Parties: Meanwhile other parties have been silent on their finances, but are active in other areas. These include the former ruling party – Party of National Unity, which has changed its officials. New parties have been formed this year  include  Transformation National Alliance Party of Kenya (TNAP) with “money bills” as its party symbol, the Democratic Action Party Kenya and the National Ordinary People Empowerment Union (NOPEU).

Summary of results:

1. Party coalitions are dead:  The party coalitions put together for elections appear to have fallen apart. ODM has stopped making payments to its coalition partners and no longer provides for them as they did in their earlier accounts.

2 Expensive secretariats: The amount at Jubilee of 81M  is down from 141M last year and which was a sharp rise from 28M in the previous year. That may coincide with hiring for the 2017 election period. Usually, party activities go into a lull after elections, until the next election cycle. In Kenya, this is set for 2022 unless another constitutional referendum is engineered to happen before that by political leaders.  At ODM, their property assets went up from 8M to 185M. in September 2019 they relocated their headquarters from Orange house to Chungwa House ay Loiyangalani  Drive in Lavington.

Old Pic from the State House FB page

3. Parties IPO: ODM has sued the government for not paying it the amount of Kshs 6.4 billion which it says dates back to when parliament came up with the  political parties act.   

But the National Treasury has been saying it cannot afford  to fund the political parties to the tune of 0.3% of the budget as parliamentarians had their parties, without impeding their constitutional requirement  to also fund the county governments.  Treasury has been allocating Kshs 300 million instead of 3.6 billion a year to the Political Parties Fund.

4. If that payment ever materializes, ODM’s coalition partners, have stated that they will stake a claim for a slice of that windfall. 

Rethinking tax incentives in Kenya’s investment promotion efforts

A recent court ruling declaring the Kenya-Mauritius Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) void has sent Kenya back to the negotiating table with Mauritius. The court’s judgment is based on the fact that the DTAA was not properly ratified under Kenyan law. Kenya’s government argues that the treaty promotes investment and jobs; however, critics such as the Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA), which filed this suit, argue that DTAAs rarely lead to any benefits for developing countries. TJNA argues that instead, they result in massive revenue leakage for African countries which outweighs incoming foreign direct investment (FDI).

Should countries, therefore, abandon the use of DTAAs? The answer more than likely lies in the middle: to bring real benefits to the economy and promote local market potential, countries should balance between the use DTAAs and other tax incentives such as special economic zones (SEZs).

Kenya’s DTAA with Mauritius was signed in 2014 with the hope of boosting foreign direct investment, but the benefits of the agreement were poorly defined from the outset. Similar to any policy, DTAAs must be rooted in clear and measurable objectives supported by equally clear policy levers to ensure that revenue generated from the resident country is not leaked through tax avoidance schemes like profit-shifting. Studies show that DTAAs signed between countries with asymmetric investment positions are less likely to lead to any benefits for developing countries. In the Netherlands, for example, DTAAs led to forgone revenue of at least USD 863 million for developing countries in 2011.

Given Kenya’s current budget deficit of USD 3.75 billion, it is critical that efforts to attract FDI such as DTAAs do not cannibalise local efforts to improve tax revenue. Numerous studies show that countries rarely achieve substantive FDI levels to make up for the revenue losses these DTAAs cause. The failed Kenya-Mauritius DTAA is not the first time a tax agreement with the island nation has been subject to controversy: in 2017, India reviewed its DTAA with Mauritius after reports showed that it had opened room for tax avoidance resulting in revenue leakage of about USD 600 million annually. In 2016 alone, Mauritian firms injected more than USD 50 million into the Kenyan economy, a 72 percent increase from 5 years prior. If the Dutch and Indian examples are any indication, Kenya could be losing far more. Lost corporate revenue is income that Kenya urgently needs to meet its development objectives. A shift to other tax incentives whose impact is more ascertainable may be more effective for many developing countries.

If the goal of DTAAs is to increase foreign investment in Kenya, they must be considered in conjunction with the broader ecosystem of policy instruments that can be used to increase tax revenues to achieve Kenya’s four priority pillars for economic growth. The government hopes to raise the manufacturing sector’s share of the GDP from 9% to 15%, and create 1.3 million jobs in this sector by 2022. To achieve this, governments should explore specific tax incentives that can provide direct benefits to these areas, such as special economic zones, which aim to maximise the “cluster effects” of activities through knowledge and supply chain integration, centralised access to critical infrastructure like roads and electricity, as well as enhanced support from local government.

Kenya, in making strides to use other tax incentives such as Special Economic Zones, should borrow lessons from its neighbours on reaping full benefits from SEZs. Rwanda, for example, has successfully leveraged SEZs to promote growth. In 2016, the Kigali Special Economic Zone (KSEZ) employed 2% of the country’s permanent employees, and accounted for 2.5% of all VAT reported sales. In Kenya, the government has already designated Mombasa, Kisumu, and Lamu as the future SEZs but to maximise their impact and avoid the development of enclaves, it is essential that firms in these SEZs interact with firms outside the zones and that the government ensures knowledge and best practices developed are shared across the economy.

Tax incentives alone will never be the sole factor attracting investors — to increase FDI, Kenya must continue to demonstrate strong market potential by providing business support and trade facilitation services. KPMG finds that Kenyan products are among the top four countries in Africa that score above the global average in terms of competitiveness on the international market; however, it still takes an average of 22 days to start a business — compared to 6.5 days in Egypt and 14 in Ghana — and poor availability of market data can complicate efforts at local expansion. To improve the country’s competitiveness, the Kenya Investment Authority should improve the availability of data for investors by working more closely with the Kenya Bureau of Statistics. Reducing business costs, for example, by bringing down the cost of imports for required goods or improving data quality to support manufacturing and value-added services will always outweigh lowering taxes.

The DTAA ruling prompts a careful re-examination of how to increase FDI without incurring unintended knock-on effects like tax avoidance. To do this, Kenya must enhance its capacity when negotiating bilateral agreements, and enact policies to support proper implementation of these agreements. In its use of tax incentives, it is critical that the scales are always tipped in Kenya’s favour. The impact of each incentive employed must be clear and measurable to ascertain that its benefits outweigh any associated costs.

A guest post by Bathsheba Asati and Faith Nyabuto of the Botho Emerging Markets Group. 

See also: The Kenyan Guide to Mauritius for business travelers.

Reading the Kenya Rugby tea leaves

The Kenya Rugby Union held its annual general meeting on March 20. On the agenda too was the election of officials, including a new Chairman.

Officially called the Kenya Rugby Football Union (KRU)  the AGM came after a tough year, for the sport. Kenya does relatively well in international rugby, with its colourful ‘Sevens’ team featured on television broadcasts and with a loyal fan following around the world. The sevens team is currently ranked number 14 (after finishing number 8 in 2018)  and sometimes features Collins Injera, the all-time top try scorer.

But the team and the sport is rankled with management and funding issues, and while some corporations have supported different rugby series, competitions, and programs, there are still issues of team selection, coaching support and player welfares. During one series in Paris, the sevens team covered up logo of their shirt-sponsor, Brand Kenya, in protest over not receiving their allowances by the time they started their matches, and that drew the wrath of Kenya’s Tourism Minister, Najib Balala, who angrily cancelled their sponsorship contract, only to reinstate it a few days later.

AGM: The meeting was held after members overruled a request from the Government for them to postpone the AGM. The financial accounts of the Kenya Rugby Football Union (KRU), audited by PFK auditors, were shared with members at the meeting.

What do they tell us about the state of rugby?

Income: The income for 2018 included national squad income of  92 million (down from 117M in 2017), annual competitions income of 80M (up from 17M in 2017), World Rugby 21M and World Rugby sevens team support of 20M. There was also other income from jersey sales of just Kshs 736,000.

The annual competition income included 35M from Radio Africa and 9M  from Stanbic. East African Breweries donated 24M and 15M in 2018 and 2017 respectively while tickets sales in both years were 5.5M and 11.6M respectively. 

Of the national squad income in 2017, 97% of that (Kshs 113 million) came from Sportpesa, who later withdrew all sponsorships in protest at the Government increasing taxes on sport betting companies.  The 2018 income was more balanced, with Kshs 52M from the Government, and 20M from Brand Kenya as, to their credit, the Government fulfilled a pledge, at least for rugby, to plug the hole left by the Sportpesa departure.

In 2018, they also got 18M from Bidco, and enjoyed use of a vehicle that was donated by Toyota Kenya and containers from Bollore Logistics. Sponsorship income in 2017 included Kshs 20M from Wananchi (Zuku), Tatu City 5M, 4M from Bidco and a 2M bonus payment from Sportpesa

Expenses: In 2018, Kshs 132 million was spent on national squad operations (comprising 65M for the sevens team and 57M for the 15’s team), and 38M on competitions (comprising 10M each for club subsidy and the Safari Sevens tournament, and 8M each for international matches and the national sevens circuit). On rugby development, 10M was spent while 40M went towards administrative expenses (including 21M of salaries and 6M million on marketing and agency – which was down from 20M in 2017).

OverallThe Kenya Rugby Football Union (KRU) took in Kshs 227 million in 2018 and spent the same amount to end with a Kshs 527,104 surplus. The year before it took in 212 million and spent 247 million, resulting in a deficit of Kshs 36 million.

KRU has an accumulated deficit of Kshs 61 million, on its balance sheet with current liabilities of Kshs 120 million far greater than its current assets of Kshs 47 million. KRU had a negative bank position of minus 1.9M in 2018 (comprising a cash balance of Kshs 661,822 and overdraft of 2.5 million. They are owed 47M in receivables but owe 118M in trade payables (62M) and accruals of (50M)

These items were flagged by the auditors who also noted that KRU does not have a tax exemption certificate and the Society has made no provision for the payment of corporate tax.

Elections and Way Forward: The campaign manifesto of Sasha Mutai, one of the candidates for Chairman, was circulated online a few weeks before the election. In it, he articulated his plans including, short-term ones of settling the KRU debt, encouraging more (tax-eligible) corporate sponsorships, ensuring salaries are paid on time, supporting programs to nurture more women and schools rugby, increasing broadcast coverage and improving player welfare (including providing health insurance). His long-term goals include building an affordable national rugby stadium at Kasarani and to have Kenya qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

After the votes were counted, George Gangla was elected to succeed Richard Omwela as the  Chairman of the Kenya Rugby Union. He received 33 votes against Sasha Mutai 20 and Asiko Owiro who got two votes.  Geoffrey Gangla is the CEO of Genghis Capital, an investment bank while Omwela is Chairman of Scangroup and a managing partner at a leading law firm – HH&M.

Jumia IPO – Prospectus Peek

Edit April 12: Jumia lists on the NYSE

EDIT March 29 2019:  Mastercard Europe SA has agreed to purchase 128;50.0 million of our ordinary shares in a concurrent private placement at a price per share equal to the euro equivalent of the IPO offering price per ordinary share. Based on an assumed IPO offering price of $14.50 per ADS, which is the midpoint of the price range set and an assumed exchange rate of $1.1325 per 128;1.00, this would be 7,810,364 ordinary shares (corresponding to 3,905,182 ADSs). We will receive the net proceeds from this Concurrent Private Placement.

  • Mastercard Europe SA has agreed to purchase €50 million of our ordinary shares in a concurrent private placement at a price per share equal to the euro equivalent of the initial public offering price per ordinary share.
  • Certain of our existing shareholders have the right to subscribe for additional ordinary shares at nominal value depending upon the initial public offering price and the number of shares placed in this offering. Assuming a placement of all offered ADSs at the midpoint of the price range, these existing shareholders may subscribe for 18,157,245 ordinary shares against payment of €18.2 million.
  • The chairperson of our supervisory board, Jonathan Klein, has indicated an interest in purchasing an aggregate of up to $1.0 million in ADSs in this offering at the IPO price.

Posted March 15 Reading the F-1 filing for Africa Internet Holding GmbH, the Africa e-commerce company that will now be known as Jumia Technologies AG after it applied to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “JMIA”.

Not much about the management at Jumia has been shared since Rocket Internet was dissected in Bloomberg story on their formula for Africa.  “Rocket sends three people to a different country to start a business: a CEO, a CFO, and a COO. The CEO builds the team, does the marketing, and drives sales. The CFO manages the revenue growth and cash burn. The COO makes sure we have a big enough warehouse and that the packages get delivered… and .. (the brothers) didn’t feel bad about copying. They had this feeling like they have to make Germany great again, so they only care about building big companies.

Why Africa?: The company (Jumia) is Africa Internet Holdings, registered in Germany. Jumia sees Africa as a market with 1.2 billion people (Jumia is in countries with 55% of this population), GDP of $2 trillion and 453 million internet users (Jumia is in countries with 77% of these internet users) and (they) believe that this younger generation, born into an “online” world, is increasingly seeking access to a wider choice of food, consumer goods and entertainment options as it becomes increasingly connected to, and aware of, global consumer trends.

They now have 4 million active customers, 81,000 active sellers, handled 13 million packages in 2018 and had 54% of transactions done on Jumia Pay which they introduced in Nigeria in 2016 and Egypt in 2018.

Ownership: The company was incorporated in June 2012. Shareholders in December 2018 were Mobile Telephone Networks Holdings – MTN (31.28%), Rocket Internet (21.74%), Millicom (10.15%), AEH New Africa eCommerce I (8.86%), 6.06% each for Atlas Countries Support and AXA Africa Holding, Chelsea Wharf Holdings (5.51%), CDC Group (4.04%), Rocket Investment Funds (3.48%) and Goldman Sachs (2.83%). A new shareholder, Pernod Ricard, came on board investing €75 million cash in January for 7,105 shares which became 5.1 million shares in a capital increase in February 2019 and they are entitled to more shares if an IPO happens within 18 months of their investment.

Governance: Jumia has 2 Co-CEO’s – Jeremy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec who are both co-founders of the Company. There is also Antoine Maillet-Mezeray, the CFO – and the three, who all reside in Germany, comprise the management board of the company.

As part of the IPO, a supervisory board has been formed and it includes Gilles Bogaert (CEO Pernod Ricard SA), and Andre Iguodala, an NBA player with the Golden State Warriors. Other are Blaise Judja-Sato Jonathan D. Klein, Angela Kaya Mwanza (UBS Private Wealth), Alioune Ndiaye  (CEO Orange Middle East and Africa), Matthew Odgers (MTN Group) and John Rittenhouse.

Employees: The Company has a total of 5,128 staff including 1,213 in Nigeria, 572 in Egypt, 686 in East Africa and 183 in South Africa. Also, an ESOP (stock option plan) was set up in 2019 that will award options to key management of Jumia. The three members of the management board had total compensation of €1.04 million in 2018, and the two co-CEO’s each have 2.2 million shares as underlying options that were granted in 2016.

Assets: The Company has no real estate. It is headquartered in Berlin where they lease office space along with other spaces in Dubai and Portugal. They also have leased warehouses in Lagos, Cairo, Nairobi, Casablanca, Abidjan, and Cape Town.

Significant subsidiaries are CART (Nigeria), ECART Ivory Coast, ECART Kenya, ECART Morocco and Jumia Egypt.

Financials: For 2018 they had revenue of €130 million. Of the revenue, €66 million from West Africa, €378 million from North Africa, €15 million from South Africa and €10.8 million from East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda – up from €4.6 million in 2017. In February 2016, they had exited Tanzania and sold their four Tanzania subsidiaries to co-CEO Hodara who wanted to run them himself.

In 2018, the goods they sold cost €84 million and Jumia also spent €94 million on administrative expenses (including €48 million on staff), €50 million logistics, €47 million on selling and advertising, and €22 million on IT expenses (including 12 million staff)

As a result, in the year 2018, they lost €169 million, compared to a loss in 2017 of €153 million. As at December 2018, the company had cash of €100 million and accumulated losses of €862 million.

Taxation: There are potential tax liabilities that have not been assessed over and above the €30 million in pending and resolved matters.  Their effective tax rate was 0.5% in 2018 and 7.4% in 2017.

The company has accumulated tax losses of €358 million including €145 million in Nigeria, €61 million in Egypt, €39 million in Kenya (~Kshs 4.5 billion), €28 million in South Africa and €25 million in Morocco.

Jumia Filing Matters: 

  • Filing costs about not confirmed but there will be a $12,120 SEC registration fee and an estimated $15,500 FINRA filing fee.
  • The public offer price is not known, but the maximum value after the listing is estimated to be $100 million.
  • Underwriters are Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Global and Berenberg
  • Ernst & Young auditors since 2014 and have provided two years of audited results.

Growth Strategies: 

  • Leverage their e-commerce platform to grow the consumer base in each market.
  • Drive consumer adoption and usage through increased consumer education as they continue to strive to deliver a positive online shopping experience
  • Increase the number of sellers and level of seller engagement
  • Develop Jumia Logistics in to better serve consumers and drive economies of scale.
  • Increase the adoption of JumiaPay.  They have agreements, through partners, in Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, and Ivory Coast to offer JumiaPay, but they don’t offer the full JumiaPay wallet range of services possible, which would require additional eMoney permissions in every country (e.g. Morocco would require €1 million in core capital and €450,000 for Ivory Coast). In Kenya, where they currently operate as a direct lender, they are preparing a new licensing application for JumiaPay.

Risks cited in the Jumia offer:

  • One caution cited is that (US) investors may have difficulty enforcing civil liabilities against us or the members of our management and supervisory board – (as) we are incorporated in Germany and conduct substantially all of our operations in Africa through our subsidiaries.
  • We do not expect to pay any dividends in the foreseeable future.
  • We have broad discretion in the use of the net proceeds from this offering and may not use them effectively.
  • We face competition, which may intensify.  Current competitors include Souq.com in Egypt (affiliated with Amazon), Konga in Nigeria and Takealot, Superbalist and Spree, which are all part of the Naspers group, in South Africa. Also .. some of our competitors currently copy our marketing campaigns, and such competitors may undertake more far-reaching marketing events or adopt more aggressive pricing policies.

€1 = Kshs 115 (Kenya shillings)

KPMG on the 2018 Finance Bill Amendments

The President of Kenya signed the Finance Bill 2018 after a stormy debate in Parliament last week that saw chaotic arguments about vote procedure methods used and actual vote counting mainly with regards to VAT on petrol products.

Some of the earlier clauses in the Finance Bill had been highlighted and KPMG, which has done a series of articles,  has provided a further update on aspects of the laws in Kenya and which they termed “..the changes present an unprecedented disruption of the tax regime that will impact the economy and citizenry for years to come.

Their perspective on the signed Finance Bill implications:

  • Excise duty on services: The President accepted Parliament’s decision to drop a Robin Hood tax of 0.05% on money transfers above Kshs 500,000 (~$5,000). But the shortfall was replaced by an increase in taxes on all telephone and internet data services, fees on mobile money transfers, and all other fees charged by financial institutions which all now go up by 50% – and which KPMG writes may have a negative impact on financial inclusion.
  • A national housing development levy was approved. With the country’s wage bill of Kshs 1.6 trillion, KPMG estimates that government can potentially collect Kshs 48 billion a year (~$480 million) from the levy, (Kshs 24 billion of which will be from employers) – a massive amount when compared to the Kshs 12.8 billion that NSSF – the National Social Security Fund collects in a year. Regulations for the National Housing Development Levy Fund (NHDF) have not been set, other than that the payments are due by the 9th of the following month. For employees who qualify for affordable housing, they can use that to offset housing costs but for those who don’t qualify, they will get a portion of their contributions back after 15 years.
  • Petroleum VAT: KPMG says that a significant portion of the government’s tax targets for 2018/19 was dependent on value-added tax (VAT) on petroleum products and that is why they have been insistent on having this implemented. Sectors that supply exempt services such as passenger transport (PSV’) and agriculture producers are expected to raise their charges to customers as they are unable to claim back the 8% VAT tax.
  • Kerosene, which is used by low-cost households, takes a double hit with the introduction of VAT as well as an anti-adulteration tax of Kshs 18 per litre. Already kerosene now costs more than diesel in some towns around the country.

  • Excise duty on sugar confectionery, while opposed by sugar industry groups, was reinstated in a move similar to other countries that are trying to address lifestyle diseases by introducing taxes on sugar products.
  • The betting industry, whose survival which was at stake, gets a reprieve as the gaming and lotteries taxes, introduced on January 1, were reduced from 35% to 15%. Many of the prominent betting companies had scaled back their advertising and sponsorship and had turned to engage in serious lobbying efforts ever since. Also, an effective 20% tax on winnings has now been introduced. The earlier tax law allowed bettors to claim some deductions if they kept records, but that has been removed altogether.