Homa Bay county government has launched a cashless revenue collection system that is meant to fight corruption while reducing cash pilferages.
The county is ranked by the Commission on Revenue Allocation as among those that perform poorly in on sourced revenue as it collected Sh136 million last year, leading to a negative variance of Sh887 million.
To reverse the trend, Governor Gladys Wanga has introduced new measures that are meant to put the county among the top in tax remittance as it targets to collect Sh1 billion annually.
Revenue collectors were given targets which Ms Wanga said will determine whether they keep their jobs or not as there will be corresponding performance-based rewards and sanctions.
The devolved unit will also exploit new areas where revenue has never been collected since the inception of devolution including parking fees.
Others include fishing boats and boda boda riders who are said to be numbering thousands but do not support the devolved unit in paying taxes.
Other new ideas being explored include establishing a Revenue Board to provide strategic oversight in revenue collection, as provided for under the Public Finance Management Act (2012) and the Public Finance Management (PFM) County Regulations.
This will ensure greater focus over revenue administration as well as effective and efficient stewardship of the revenue collection and accounting process.
“Internal Audit Committee will also be put in place to mitigate revenue leakage risks. Additionally, plans are underway to restructure the ICT department to make it functional and responsive to our rapidly changing needs,” Ms Wanga said.
Speaking when she launched the online revenue payment system at Kabunde Social Hall on Tuesday, the governor said her administration will also streamline liquor licensing processes being one of the major revenue streams.
Sub-County Administrators and Enforcement officers have been collecting revenue from bars.
Ms Wanga directed the officers to stop collecting money from drinking joints and assigned revenue officers to do the job.
“Collection of revenue shall be done by the revenue department only. Further, Revenue Officers will be required to keep a database of all actual and potential taxpayers within their respective area of operation,” the governor said.
The governor said she will work with the public to ensure revenue officers operate in a corruption-free environment.
She warned that whoever will be found receiving cash from traders will be fired.
“We shall be circulating a toll-free number where the citizens can report corruption incidents and cases of irregularities involving public officers,” the governor said.
In the cashless system, all payments will be made through paybill number 0434343 or Code number *603#.
The governor announced that all revenue will then be banked in one account. She said that a number of parallel old accounts will be closed.
As a measure of encouraging more revenue collection, the county government intends to amend the valuation roll in readiness for the new rates before January 2023.
“To decisively deal with the long outstanding dues from leasehold properties, I hereby declare a one-off waiver of Interest on leasehold land to encourage expeditious settlement of outstanding payments,” Ms Wanga said.
Other measures meant to enhance customer experience include establishing a Onestop-Shop (Ushuru Center) for collection of structured revenue (rent, rates, permits, licences etc.) within Town Sub County, instituting high level outreach programme targeting top tax payers and having engagement programme with leaders of boda doda associations to streamline revenue collection.
“Plans are underway to form a committee that will sit on a weekly basis to expedite approval of building plans. The committee will consist of the department of Public works, Physical Planning and Public Health,” Ms Wanga said.