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Just like Siaya, Homabay County two years ago was registering low collection of Own Source Revenue with an unsustainable revenue growth pattern and reversed previous year gains.

Then the story is luridly told of one Gladys Atieno Nyasuna Wanga transforming all that and putting Homabay County on an upward revenue collection trajectory. We are tired of hearing that story that Homabay collected close to KES 1 billion in the last financial year.

In May last year while speaking in Nairobi during a validation forum of the County Integrated Development Plan 2023/2027, Siaya Governor James Aggrey Bob Orengo revealed that in comparison Siaya collects approximately KES 500,000 in Own Source Revenue and often makes a shortfall.

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Orengo said Siaya would seek to double its revenue collection to KES 1 billion even though the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) believes the county has a potential of collecting KES 2 billion.

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For the sake of the uninitiated Own Source Revenue is revenue collected from rates, single business permits, parking fees, building permits, and fees from billboards and advertisements.

County governments have the initiative to impose these rates and taxes at their own discretion through the Finance Act.

Recently the County Government of Siaya introduced parking fees within the CBD but the implementation is rather lackluster with this un-uniformed, well-fed elderly person amiably approaching drivers and turning away at the slightest resistance.

As a layman, I know, Kenyans don’t pay tax out of patriotism but they always do so after some prodding. Maybe whoever is in charge of this department should think of emulating the Nairobi Kanjo  of towing away vehicles (it’s crude it’s ruthless but it works).

Then there’s this double-cabin that harasses traders in guise of collecting tax. It actually carries goons masquerading as County officials and they are always ready to assault anyone at the slightest provocation. This is where you need civility and tact. 

The moment the double-cabin is sighted in Boro heading West, three-quarters of businessess between Mwer-Uranga-Nyadorera-Sidundo just shut their doors. Business resumes immediately the drama and theatrics is over.

Why threaten and molest the few honest citizens who remain open prepared to meet their tax obligations?

Despite the enormous cost and technical input involved in hosting a platform the county government should seriously think of proper digitalization and setting up a platform through which traders can remit taxes without the drama and theatrics. Of course those traders who need a little prodding can be visited, once in a while.

Back to Governor Orengo and his speech in Nairobi during a forum for the validation of the County Integrated Development Plan 2023/2027. The Governor said that to meet the shortfall in Own Source Revenue collection agriculture will be key in the county’s transformative agenda.

What has been done, so far, to enforce and regulate taxation in agriculture, fishing and the small scale jua kali sector?

Remember it’s no longer a myth of political science that service delivery should have correlation to taxation; this generation believes in their rights.

DalanewsKe 

Editorial Sunday 14 April 2024

 

 

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