Category Archives: Kenya taxation

Kenya Eurobond 2021 A to Z

Kenya’s 12-year Eurobond, in which the Government sought to raise $1 billion, attracted offers worth $5.4 billion after a three-day virtual roadshow with European investors.

Here’s a peek at a draft 223-page prospectus

Advisors to the National Treasury were Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Securities as book runners, co-managers were NCBA and I&M banks, Citi was also the paying agent and registrar, while legal advisors were Dentons, White & Case, Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Matthews and Coulson Harney.

Banking: The Central Bank regulates all mobile phone-based banking products offered by banks.

The government will not participate in the recapitalization of the National Bank of Kenya and plans to divest from commercial banking.

Debt rescheduling: During Covid, Kenya secured debt suspension relief from eight out of its 10 Paris Club member creditors, and China for a total of Kshs 38 billion of 68 billion requested, to free up liquidity for Covid-19 pandemic-related expenditures.

Default: Is non-payment of the principal for 15 days after it falls due or interest for 30 days after the due date. Also if Kenya ceases to be a member of the IMF or default on another security by $25 million.

Litigation: Any disputes shall be resolved under arbitration rules of the London Court of International Arbitration and shall be lodged through the High Commissioner of Kenya in London.

London Bond Listing: An application has been made to list and trade the notes on the London Stock Exchange. Notes are in denominations of $200,000

Past Eurobonds: In 2014, Kenya raised an aggregate $2.75 billion through dual-tranche 5- and 10- year Eurobonds. In 2015, Kenya had $750 million syndicated loan with a consortium of banks and in February 2018, Kenya issued its last Eurobond, a $2.0 billion one comprising a 10-year tranche and a 30-year tranche.

In April 2019, the Auditor General issued a special audit report on the 2014 Eurobond and found the funds were fungible utilized but some were spent outside the Government’s IFMIS.

Purpose: The Kenya Government intends to use the funds for general budgetary expenditures.

Repayments are made in US dollars.

SGR: In January 2021, Kenya secured a debt suspension from China of a loan by Eximbank to fund Kenya’s SGR. US$378 million, will be repaid over five years, after a grace period of one year, in ten equal, semi-annual installments.

The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company recently signed a contract with China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Company for the electrification of this section of the Mombasa-Nairobi railway.

Subscription: In case, the bond was under-subscribed, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, I&M and NCBA would have filled the gap.

Taxes: All payments are made, without deducting withholding tax. Also, interest payable on the notes has been exempted from income tax and capital gains tax in Kenya.

KPMG on Kenya Taxes in 2021

KPMG East Africa has a summary of some tax proposals in the Finance Bill that will be used to plug the country’s ambitious Kshs 3.6 trillion 2021/22 budget.

Here are some excerpts

For investors

  • Depositories are to enhance the identity of investors i.e buyers and sellers of securities.
  • Creation of post-retirement medical funds in retirement benefits schemes.
  • Clarifies the definition of an infrastructure bond.
  • A capital markets tribunal shall deal with matters before it within 90 days.
  • Moving from 16% to exempt after July 1, 2021, are the transfer of assets into real estate investment trust (REIT’s) and asset-backed securities.

Competition

  • Opens up reinsurance to players other than Kenya Re to certify reinsurance contracts.
  • Opens the door to private electricity companies; no longer required to offer their supply to the national grid and they are eligible for investment deductions. Also, if government licenses them, they can compete with KPLC.

Prosecutions

  • Tax cases will not stop where there is an ongoing criminal or civil case.
  • Abolishes the amnesty on rental income tax before 2013 (which had since expired).
  • Rewards for informing on tax dodgers; The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) can reward up to Kshs 500,000 (up from 100,000) for information and up to 5% or Kshs 5 million of taxes recovered.
  • Taxpayers are to keep records for 7 years and KRA can assess claims of up to 7 years from the date of a taxpayer’s last return.

Digital Taxes and market

  • PIN’s required for digital marketplace transactions.
  • Digital service tax is removed from residents (only applies to non-residents).
  • Non-resident businesses can maintain records in convertible currencies (not necessarily Kenya shillings).

Large investors

  • To stop base erosion and profit shifting, multinationals / ultimate parent companies are required to file a report on their activities (revenue, profit, taxes paid, employees, assets, cash) in Kenya within 12 months of their financial year-end.
  • Ends group VAT registration for groups of companies; each entity will report its own VAT on transactions.
  • To encourage large investments, there is an exemption for import declaration fee (IDF) and railway development levy (RDL) for investments over Kshs 5 billion or with the approval of the Treasury Cabinet Secretary.

Value Added Tax

  • Introduces VAT on bread.
  • Several items move from 16% to exempt, which means the Treasury CS can exempt them on request. These include infants foods, medical ventilators, lab reagents, gas masks, x-ray equipment, anti-malaria kits and doses, and artificial body parts.
  • Also moving from 16% to exempt, are vehicles for oil & mining companies, and equipment for solar & wind generation.

Other

  • A 20% betting tax returns after being briefly for a year.
  • Bank loan fees no longer incur excise duty.
  • Remove a requirement for VAT regulations to be approved ahead by Parliament; instead they will be shared with legislators under the statutory instruments Act.
  • Withholding tax in oil and mining sectors will be 10%
  • Removes the 10 year limit on carrying tax losses
  • Excise tax goes up on motorcycles and is introduced on jewellery and nicotine substitutes.
  • Reintroduces excise duty on locally-manufactured sugar confectionery and white chocolate that was removed in 2019.

KCB 1923 AGM: Optimism amid political disturbances

In May 1923, the East African Standard published a report from a bank AGM.

Mr. Robert Williamson, the deputy chairman of the National Bank of India addressing shareholders at the annual meeting yesterday, made a brief reference to the position in East Africa today and in the course of his remarks, suggested considerable improvement in the prospects for both trade and agriculture.

Mr. Williamson said the export trade of the country was more active and its products such as maize, coffee, and hides had found a ready market. The Uganda cotton crop, although it would not realize the original estimate of about 100,000 bales, would be fairly large and should assist in the off-take of imported goods through the buying power produced from its sale.

“The repeal of the Kenya income tax and revision of customs duty should also improve matters. There are,” he added, “certain political disturbances locally almost inseparable from the growth of a young country with a mixed population such as Kenya has, which we all trust are capable of adjustment. The outlook in this direction is promising as deputations from the districts are coming to London to interview the Secretary of State for the Colonies.”

A dividend for the six months ended December 31st, last at the rate of 20% per annum was agreed to.

More:

The National Bank of India was the top bank in colonial Kenya. It is the oldest bank in the country and is today known as KCB

The Creative Sector in 2020

The Africa Digital Media Foundation (ADMF) has published a comprehensive report on the state of the creative sector in Kenya and the needs, challenges, and ambitions of its participants. ADMF started the study with a questionnaire that was widely circulated and completed the research in July 2020 using online forums and tools.

Summary of their findings:

  • There is a willingness in the Kenya creative entrepreneurs to make things better for everyone.
  • Success breeds success and the creative population is divided between those that have made it (and keep grabbing jobs and clients) and those that have not (less- established creative entrepreneurs who may have few years of experience, little commercial and financial success)
  • All want opportunities to learn more; they accept that technology evolves and new products require new skills.
  • Banks don’t understand; formal credit and financing options aren’t considered viable options by creatives; their financing is limited to sourcing from friends and family.
  • Almost everyone had a story about doing work and not receiving payment as agreed from the client.

Other interesting findings in the report:

  • Top engagements are in TV/video production, writing/journalism, graphic design, animation and finally photography (all have more than 10%). Some small categories with 1% are gaming, event planning and jewellery.
  • There is 50/50 split between those that have formally registered their business and those that haven’t. Of the non-registered ones, some can’t afford to lose some of their income in taxes while others do not see the benefit in registering a business, paying taxes, and accessing the supposed benefits that taxpayers enjoy, such as NHIF and NSSF.
  • 23% work in the sector part-time. Their other sources of income are teaching (7) and 4% each for farming and events equipment rental.

Check it out the full report here.

Also, read more about ADMF, and its sister institution, the Africa Digital Media Institute (ADMI). Some of the courses open for enrollment in 2021 including certificates in video game development, music production, video production, digital marketing, and Rubika 2D animation as well as diplomas in Rubika video game design, sound engineering, animation & motion graphics and film & television production.

Mauritius and the EU Blacklist

This week, the East Africa Venture Capital Association (EAVCA) organized a talk about Mauritius that’s facing a European Union financial transactions blacklist.  

Some excerpts:

  • Mauritius has set itself up as a financial hub that attracts and deploys investments across Africa. It has become the place of choice to operate through and 90% of investments into East Africa are done through Mauritius (60% are from the EU). The significance of this is that one panelist said that the Mauritius ban was worse than COVID.
  • Mauritius has complied with 35 of the 40 clauses (including the big 6 important ones), and 53 of the 58 recommended actions on Anti-Money Laundering (AML). There’s high-level commitment to correct the remaining ones, led by the Prime Minister, and the nation has a timetable to address the outstanding issues in 2021. 
  • The blacklist prohibits European investments in new funds in Mauritius, with the ban also affecting all European Investment Bank (EIB), funding, investments, lending and operations. The ban is not retroactive, so they have agreed on a grandfather period, till 31 December 2021, during which funds can continue to operate and by which time they hope the country will be removed from the list. But from October 1 2020, European funds can’t make new invests in funds structured in Mauritius. They have two options – focus on funds not established in Mauritius or invest through parallel structures (institutions that are set-up to co-invest along with funds in Mauritius) 
  •  No African country will benefit from Mauritius troubles as there are few alternatives to that country. Malta and Ghana have also been listed – so likely bases are now Dubai, or within the EU (Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg, France) itself.  
  • Kenya and Mauritius have been working on a taxation treaty for 8 years. Kenya has signed 14 tax treaties (including with Canada, France, Germany, India, Norway, UK, Zambia and South Africa), most before 1987, but none had raised as much attention as the proposed Mauritius DTA, as it is which is a low-tax country. Uganda and Rwanda already have Mauritius DTA’s. Kenya’s Parliament opened public participation on a new Kenya-Mauritius treaty for the avoidance of double-taxation in terms of cross-border transactions (property, profits, royalties, dividends, technical fees etc.) and the deadline for comments is October 5 202. But the treaty does not apply to most Kenyan investment firms as a 2014 KRA law change requires 50% of ownership to be in another state to qualify.