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Outdoor Advertising Tax Increments

Another tax project in this country and it has hit in one of the areas where we rarely look; Outdoor Advertising. To the shock of many, it had skipped the council hall seating and for the systems that be, it almost made it to the floor of parliament.

We have commonly heard of inflationary effects but to a tune of 400%, that would mean that the cost of main factors of production just shot up by 400%. With many of the investors (in this scenario the advertisers) caught between grappling with the costs of buying materials for the outdoor Media, and trying to convince the skeptical clients to buy their billboard spaces; a bill such as this came as a betrayal from an institution that is in place to make sure such manner of inconsistency in Capital City administration does not become common play.

What we are looking at right now is not just another policy. This seems to be well engineered to make the market impossible to penetrate. If the role of the revenue collection bodies or departments is solely to raise revenue out of the bulk in the economy then we headed for a major trouble. During the discussion we had at KCCA, the AG Director Revenue Correction seemed to point out the amount made by the investors other than highlighting for us how these rates came about and how they intend to use them. As tax payers, we need to see this good bag put to good use. Many of advertisers have fallen victims of vandalized media and Billboards yet we have bodies under the city counsel responsible for the security of the said tool!
We need accountability from these bodies of how we can build each other, so that the stores can be healthy as the tax payer is healthy.

Another pattern I have also observed is the cropping up of these taxes, with unrealistic calculations. Take for example owners of residential units. Some have borrowed from banks to put up these structures. KCCA in this case does not put that in perspective, the government will gladly pardon a Chinese and slap him with a 5 year tax holiday. A scenario arises where the said Chinese is renting one of the houses from this landlord who is trying to pay back loans from the bank coupled with KCCA ground rent. The other investor (Chinese) on the other hand is having a tax holiday, so he can comfortably go through the rent issues.

Who then is supposed to have ease when considering investment; the foreign party or the indigenous people, who have to plow their profits back into their country so that even more value for our revenues can be recycled as money spent on local content and products. This would in the end have the country run at a pace never seen, and the people also feel represented by the leaders that were elected to, among other things, to do that one role.

Edwin Natumanya,
Media and Advertising Pundit