, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 21 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed the National Treasury and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Board to expedite vetting of KRA staff as the government moves to boost tax collection.
He emphasised that concrete measures must be taken to enhance revenue mobilization by ensuring that all eligible taxpayers meet their tax obligation and corruption in tax collection is eradicated.
“Central to the achievement of this objective is the need to engender a culture that promotes excellence while firmly punishing acts of misconduct amongst staff involved in revenue collection,” he said.
President Kenyatta spoke Wednesday at Kenyatta International Convention Centre when he presided over this year’s National Taxpayers’ Day.
During the occasion, various companies and individuals received awards for leading in paying tax with the Eastern Produce Kenya Ltd scooping the best Corporation Tax award.
He applauded those who have been steadfast in paying their taxes, describing them as present day heroes and heroines who have chosen to be patriotic by supporting the country’s development agenda.
The President assured that the government has embarked on ensuring sustenance of macroeconomic stability through low inflation, sustainable fiscal deficit, a stable currency exchange and affordable interest rates.
“My Government is addressing the challenges through expenditure rationalization and tax revenue mobilization initiatives both of which should help alleviate the pressure on domestic money market,” President Kenyatta said.
He said the country’s political freedom must go hand-in-hand with financial independence, which can only be guaranteed when all Kenyans commit to pay their taxes.
“Let us all commit to do our part in realising the dream of economic independence,” he said.
President Kenyatta observed that since coming into office, his government has prioritized facilitation and engagement with the private sector to stimulate rapid economic growth.
He said reforms implemented by the government have improved Kenya’s ranking in paying taxes from 146 in 2014 to 102 in 2015.
“This improvement is largely attributable to the introduction of electronic services which have enabled taxpayers to more conveniently handle their tax matters,” he said.
The President affirmed the government’s commitment to ensuring more uptake of electronic services platforms by public institutions to lighten the burden for the public in accessing government services.
He pointed out that automation of tax administration services -which has empowered Kenyans to transact tax affairs without the need to travel long distances – has also helped to improve public service delivery and Kenya’s attractiveness in respect of Doing Business Indicators.
“My government will continue prioritising service digitisation with a view to making Kenya the preferred business hub in Africa,” he said, adding that there is no turning back in improving Kenya’s Doing Business Ranking to below position 50 in the next few years”.
National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich outlined measures his ministry has taken to boost revenue collection including establishing a debt and audit programme which will help KRA increase revenue and curb wastage.
Measures to be instituted include reduction of leakages by reviewing the administration of customs and VAT collection. This will help KRA to rapidly identify and enforce debt collection.
Rotich said improvement on the auditing process will particularly target transfer pricing, construction of mega projects and tax compliance of large retailer and wholesalers.
He said the National Treasury will monitor – on a daily basis – revenue collection and daily clearance at the port of Mombasa.