Victory for conservancies as Kenya Revenue Authority loses in court


(Posted 01st October 2019)

A much hoped for victory in court for the Lewa Conservancy makes sure they can stay in business and continue with their A1* conservation work.
KRA had demanded over 80 million Kenya Shillings in VAT after 12 years ago writing to Lewa that gate fees were exempted.
Justice Mary Kasango sided with Lewa, and arguably with other conservancies like Ol Pejeta and a string of conservancies along the Masai Mara – providing a crucial buffer zone around this globally renown game reserve – when she ruled it unreasonable and not viable to retrospectively claim taxes.
KRA stands accused by the conservation fraternity to put conservation at risk with such shenanigans and while one has to wait now if KRA might want to appeal – and become a conservation outcast – is it hoped that the verdict will stand and not be appealed.
Conservancies in Kenya are private sector initiatives, oftentimes hand in hand with landowners, who turn their extensive grazing grounds for cattle, many times deteriorated beyond help, into conservation areas where limited number of lifestock can coexist with wildlife.
Landowners like Masai Group Ranches then earn income from land rent, royalties for every guest staying on one of the conservancy’s accommodation units and in addition benefit from job creation for their people.