Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga has extended the tax holiday for traders, for another week, as she steps up efforts to increase revenue collection.

The new directive means that traders will enjoy three weeks of operating without paying taxes.

The announcement comes as preliminary results of an audit on revenue collection revealed that about Sh887 million collected in the past cannot be accounted for.

According to Ms Wanga (pictured below), the audit revealed worrying trends and she vowed to invite State agencies to probe officers suspected to have misappropriated revenue.

She said the county government has been collecting low revenue because of lack of integrity among workers. She said the devolved unit collects an average of  Sh136 million annually against a target of Sh1.024 billion.

“I am extending the tax exemption by seven days. This means traders will start paying taxes from October 5,” Wanga said.

The governor argued that the tax exception period is aimed at enabling her office to reorganise methods of revenue collection.

Wanga said, according to the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), Homa Bay collects 35 per cent less revenue than the local authority used to collect before devolution.

Wanga who was accompanied by her deputy Oyugi Magwanga said she is going to streamline revenue collection.

One of the ways of doing this, she said, is by introducing a cashless system.

Wanga said the measures are aimed at sealing loopholes through which revenue is pilfered.

“We must ensure that we collect our revenue appropriately to enable our county get the required funds,” she said.

This came after receiving a preliminary report of the Revenue Administration Taskforce she formed to carry out investigations.

The report cited lack of integrity among some revenue officers, a weak audit programme, weak cash-based system and manipulation of electronic system.

“My administration will put in place measures to reverse this trend once the task force gives us the final report,” Wanga said.