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Government urged to give tax waivers on donations

Non-governmental organizations involved with charitable donations are asking the government to relinquish taxes imposed on charitable aids destined to help the vulnerable communities in the country.

The organizations now claim donations worth millions of shillings are stuck abroad after the government started taxing charitable donations bestowed from the UK and Germany.

They said the majority of Kenyans who depend on donations, especially wheelchairs, hospital beds and sanitary pads are suffering due to the situation.

All firms making donations to charitable organizations should be registered under the Companies Act, the Societies Act or the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Coordination Act for them to qualify tax exceptions.

Speaking in Mombasa during the commemoration of the NGOs week, Mr. Habib Hakim Secretary of Helping Hand (Pwani), a charitable organization in the Coast, requested the government to give tax waivers to charitable donations so that the needy can benefit.

“As you know, the government has stopped all tax waivers on donations, they don’t give us waiver on duties and taxes on donations, we want to ask the NGOs Coordination Board to intervene because we have a lot of valuable stuff stuck in Germany and UK,” Hakim said.

“We brought a container of wheel chairs and hospital beds last month and we paid duty, when it reached here they told us the government has removed waivers,” he added.

They were speaking during the 2023 NGO week held at Serani grounds in Mombasa where different NGOS showcased what they do. The event was graced by the NGOs Coordination Board Executive Director Mutuma Nkanata.

“The donations we get from abroad, especially wheel chairs from Germany are very durable, there are patients who are bedridden and need beds at home, sanitary pads that can be supplied to more than 50,000 learners in schools per month, they are now stuck because of taxes,” Hakim said.

The organization also requested for tax waiver on the date fruits used by Muslims during the month of Ramadhan as the holy month approaches.

Kenya has made significant strides in the regulation of Non-Governmental Organizations. The NGO’s Coordination Board Executive Director Mutuma Nkatana said that the board is committed to assist all the NGOs that need assistance from the Government Agency.

“We can sit down, reach out to the treasury on behalf of the organizations to look at specific issues, I don’t see why this cannot happen, we will make a follow up especially on tax exemptions, and assist where possible,” said Nkanata.

Nkanata said NGOs bring in more than Sh 170 billion to the Kenyan economy on an annual basis. He said the agency is keen to facilitate work permits where necessary so as to grow the economy.

“As you know NGOs contribute towards development, they contribute over Sh170 billion annually, so we are ready to facilitate their activities, and we are ready to help them,” Nkanata said while lauding the Non-Governmental Organizations for complementing government services.

Nkanata asked NGOs to solely focus on sustaining livelihoods of the vulnerable communities in the country, as per their mandate as it promised to conduct a countrywide crackdown on defaulters.

By Fatuma Said

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