Kenyans still waiting for software import tax reduction

The Kenyan government in June this year announced that the country would remove duty software importation which was then at 5 percent. Two months later, little has been done.

Software piracy is a minefield to the government and the private sector. Over 83 percent of software in computers used in Kenya are counterfeit hence proving a challenge for the software producers especially, Microsoft.

Hennie Loubser regional manager for Microsoft in West, East, Central Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands welcomed the move to scrap the duty saying it removed the financial barriers that impeded the importation of software into the country.

Kenya’a finance minister Hon. Njeru Githae confirmed that the government would scrap the duty charged on software to “try and nab the piracy disease.”

“In order to restore dignity in the industry and attract foreign investments, I propose to remove duty on all imported software to make it cheaper to our people and further attract foreign investors in this industry,” the minister said during the budget speech in June this year.

Kenya is not the only country suffering from software piracy as the world all over is affected by counterfeit or unlicensed software.

This year, the Adobe Company opted to host its software, Adobe Creative Suite, on the cloud to stem some of its losses from piracy. Adobe, just like Microsoft, is suffering losses due to unlicensed software.

In an interview with The Standard, Loubser said that the company is looking to create a plan to strengthen its presence and promote development in Africa.

With no word from the government as to when the import duty tax will be scrapped, the stakeholders will have to wait a little while longer for price reduction in software.

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