Kiambu targets to collect Sh8 billion revenue locally in new financial year

An aerial view of Ruaka town in Kiambu County. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

"With such mechanisms of accountability and systems, I envisage a two or three-fold increase in our revenue. To this effect, I have set to collect about Sh7.9 billion in the next financial year which will be achieved without increasing the existing license fees and levies," Wamatangi said.

A recent report, by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) and World Bank, said counties have the potential to collect up to Sh216 billion annually from their key revenue streams. However, the devolved units are only collecting Sh31 billion, according to the report.

The report dubbed; "Comprehensive Own Source Revenue Potential and Tax Gap Study of County Governments" was released on October 5, 2022.

The report said Kiambu can raise over Sh13 billion, with the ability to collect between Sh7 billion and Sh9.3 billion from the property rates alone.

It says that business licenses fetched just Sh617 million when the potential is Sh1 billion. From parking fees, some Sh279 million was realised against the potential of Sh1.19 billion.

Construction and maintenance

If the budget is passed, the Health Department will be allocated Sh7.69 billion, and the Roads and Transport docket which deals with among other works, construction and maintenance of roads, will get Sh2.569 billion. Others are Finance (Sh1.7 billion), Education (1.54 billion), Agriculture (1.4 billion), Trade (Sh996 million), Administration (Sh949 million), Water and Environment (Sh890 million), Land and Housing (Sh858 million), and Youth and Sport (Sh331 million).

The county assembly has proposed that it should be allocated Sh1.567 billion.

Finance and Planning executive Nancy Kirumba said the Sh7.9 billion OSR target has been informed by an ongoing Rapid Response Initiative on revenue.

She said it is a friendly exercise meant to monitor compliance on revenue payment and campaigning on the need for locals to pay revenue.

The exercise, she said, unearthed gaps which have been denying the county billions of shillings. They include outright theft where fake payment slips are used by some revenue officers, and weak revenue systems that delay payments leading to non-payment.

Already, a case is under investigation by detectives at Thika Police Stations where unscrupulous finance officers were found to have used payments made by a leading poultry producer to generate single business permit licenses for several traders whose payments were diverted.

Managing funds

"The exercise allowed us to understand the needs and the challenges of our people, and persuade them on the importance of paying levies and also most importantly, monitor how revenue officers conduct themselves when interacting with clients and managing funds," said Kirumba

She added: "We have initiated reforms such as turning to technology to eliminate theft of revenue by embracing cashless, being innovative by exploring new tax areas, and coming up with targets and tracking systems regularly."

Lands and Housing Minister Salome Wainaina said once the county installs the new ERP system, which will also incorporate the building approval system and land rate platform, they will be able to raise more revenue from the property sector.

Initially, the county was using Electronic Development Application System (EDAMs) for building approvals but it was terminated following concerns that developers were making applications but would get frustrated due to regular downtime of the system.

Some developers had stayed for up to three years without their applications being processed, with the governor's rogue officials would then demand bribes to process them outside the system, leading to substandard buildings that have been collapsing.