KRA rejects musicians’ proposal
Posted Wednesday, September 3 2008 at 21:30
- In 2006, the Kenya Copyright Board had assented to a similar bid.
- Musicians do not pay taxes directly; they pay taxes through the equipment they purchase and the ‘service tax’
A bid by musicians to team up with the taxman in the fight against piracy flopped on Wednesday.
The Kenya Revenue Authority told the musicians that it only dealt with specific taxes such as VAT, customs duty and import tax.
“Music, as a product, falls under unaccounted for revenue. Since we cannot measure it, we cannot tax it,” Mr James Githinji, a deputy commissioner at KRA said.
In a meeting that was held at a Nairobi hotel, the musicians had proposed that the Kenya Revenue Authority introduce stickers, similar to those used on beverages and cigarettes, that would be placed on their products as authentication devices.
“Up to 90 per cent of our due proceeds are lost through piracy. It is a vice just like corruption and it is the duty of the Government to look into it,” said Mr Tom Kodiyo, the director of the Music Copyright Society of Kenya.
The stickers, they said, would help authorised enforcers easily distinguish pirated goods from genuine ones and eliminate the need of having musicians or producers accompany the authorities during raids to identify their products.
The meeting was attended by KRA commissioners, MCSK, local musicians, producers and representatives from performing artistes groups.
In selling the idea to the Government body, the musicians said that having the stickers would be a good way through which KRA could efficiently collect revenue from them since the sticker would be bought.
In 2006, the Kenya Copyright Board had assented to a similar bid. The board had agreed to design stickers, which the musicians were to buy at Sh10 for their products.
The KRA commissioners said that was not part of their mandate. “It is true that having the stickers would benefit both of us, but it is not in our job description,” Mr Githinji said.
He claimed that introducing the stamps was the obligation of the Kenya Copyright Board and instead referred the musicians to lobby the idea to the board.
The musicians accused KRA of not doing enough in trying to penetrate the music industry as a potential source of revenue.
They said that the body had a negative attitude towards the industry and that was why it did not have any policies to cater for them.
“Money generated by companies and media houses from the use of our music is huge,” said renowned local artiste Eric Wainaina.
“The Government needs to consider our industry just like any other and give it due recognition,” he added.
Currently, musicians do not pay taxes directly. They pay taxes through the equipment they purchase and the ‘service tax’, which is reflected as VAT in the contracts they sign.