Governor Njuki embraces technology as he targets growth without tax hikes

Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki at DC grounds at Chuka where he announced his administration had closed 450 alcohol businesses that had flouted the law. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

Governor Muthomi Njuki has released his scorecard on how his administration’s initiatives have changed Tharaka Nithi.

In a State of the County Address in Kathwana on Tuesday, Mr Njuki outlined successes in various sectors and noted that their strategies have boosted revenue collection.

He said that his administration had deployed technology to close gaps that previously led to low revenue collection. According to Njuki, the installation of CCTVs at cess collection points had improved own-source revenue.

Njuki stated that over the past seven years, the county had witnessed remarkable economic growth, with the Gross County Product (GCP) increasing by up to 25 per cent, rising from Sh30 billion in 2016 to Sh77 billion in 2022.

“This substantial growth underscores our county’s untapped potential to make a more significant contribution to the National GDP,” said the governor.

Njuki said when he took office in August 2017, the county’s own-source revenue for the 2016-2017 financial year stood at Sh79 million, which his administration worked to grow by a big margin.

“Remarkably, in the most recent financial year (2022-23), revenue collection exhibited substantial growth of 362 per cent and hit Sh286.7 million. This positive trajectory in the county’s own source revenue is attributed to strategic initiatives such as the installation of CCTV cameras for strengthened oversight at cess collection points,” he said.

He added that coordinated enforcement efforts and automated revenue collection processes effectively minimized pilferage and non-compliance with tax regulations.

Njuki said his target was to identify more revenue-generation avenues without increasing taxation while focusing on optimizing operations.

He highlighted agriculture as one area he prioritized for various interventions to empower farmers to increase production.

He said to boost productivity and create value addition for increased farm inputs, his administration had registered over 95,000 farmers who benefited from various interventions, including subsidies.

“We can now link our farmers to key service providers through digitised platforms and e-services.

High-quality inputs

“Through the county subsidy program, we have provided farmers with high-quality inputs, fostering the adoption of certified seeds that are high-yielding and drought-resistant,” he said.

Njuki revealed that in efforts to boost production, his administration had vaccinated over 25,000 cattle, 20,000 goats, 6,000 sheep, and 20,000 poultry.

“These interventions have resulted in overall increase in milk production and collection by our farmers. We are currently producing over 45 million liters annually,” he said.

With many farmers selling their milk to the neighbouring Meru Dairy Union in Meru County, Njuki said that the goal was to create a local market in Tharaka Nithi that would lead to improved prices and create employment opportunities for residents.

He noted that his administration had also helped farmers construct 700 ponds and provided farmers with feeds, fingerings, and other inputs.

Njuki listed his achievements in healthcare where the number of public healthcare facilities increased from 86 in 2017 to the current 112.

He said his administration had also completed various water projects to boost agricultural production, including the Rubate and Tunyai-Gakurungu irrigation schemes.