Raila, SK Macharia lead Kenyan artists in celebrating 25pc excise duty exemption


Raila, SK Macharia lead Kenyan artists in celebrating 25pc excise duty exemption
Royal Media Services Limited Dr SK Macharia gets down with dancers on stage during the Tuesday, July 27 event.

Kenyan musicians, politicians, and industry stakeholders gathered on Tuesday at an event organized by the artists to express gratitude to the government for waiving taxes on their Skiza tunes earnings.

The artists who are now exempt from the 25% excise duty claim that the move will significantly increase their earnings.

Hundreds of local artists and politicians mingled at the event, which was held at the home of Royal Media Services owner SK Macharia in Gatang’a.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga was present, flanked on the side by a number of leaders, including Siaya Senator James Orengo and Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria.

Others who graced the event are: Finance Committee Chair Gladys Wanga, Maoka Maore (Igembe North), Kanini Kega (Kieni) Maina Kamanda (Nairobi), and former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth.

According to the ODM party, the removal of the 20% excise duty, which Gladys Wanga lobbied for, will ensure Kenyan musicians benefit from their talents by ensuring higher returns from Skiza tunes and other platforms.

Ben Githae, a vernacular musician in attendance, praised the President, ODM’s Raila Odinga, and Royal Media’s SK Macharia for giving the musicians a new lease on life.

“We invited you here to celebrate the win we have received through the help we have received from his excellency the President, Prime Minister and Dr. SK Macharia,” Musician Ben Githae said on Tuesday.

On the Skiza Platform artists will now receive 43 cents for each shilling earned, up from 16 cents previously.

They have also asked telco behemoth Safaricom to consider adding another 9cts, bringing the total to 52.

The musicians have also lobbied for an overhaul of Kenya’s copyright boards.

The musicians have also advocated for a revamp of Kenya’s copyright boards in a move aimed at increasing their earnings.

The latest follows lobbying by the Finance Committee chair Gladys Wanga who, while moving the amendments in the National Assembly, said artists have been getting very little from Skiza tunes while mobile operators take the lions share.

“Our 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,” said Wanga, who is also the Homa Bay Woman Representative.

Wanga’s amendment proposing exemption on excisable services supplied in Kenya by a mobile telecommunication service provider on the sale of a ring back tune to a subscriber.

She further announced plans to bring an amendment to the Copyright Act which will see artistes take home the lion’s share when it comes to revenues from ringback tunes.

Wanga pointed out that from the current sharing formula, it is the services providers retain a huge chunk of the revenue. 

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