The County Government of Kisumu has enlisted services of a debt collector to help recover Sh.20 billion from land rates defaulters.
The move comes amidst poor revenue collection concerns with the county only generating about Sh.800 million annually against a potential of Sh.7.1 billion.
The debt collector has been tasked to collect the arrears, some dating back to over ten years to help the devolved unit meet its revenue collection targets.
According to the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Finance and Economic Planning, Nerry Achar, the arrears once collected will be used to fund various development programs.
A recent report by the UN-habitat mapped out several untapped revenue streams in the county projecting the potential of collecting up to Sh.7.1 billion.
Achar said the county government was using the findings of the UN-habitat report, while partnering with KRA and other organizations to realize the Sh.7.1 billion potential.
“We are working with a number of partners to streamline revenue collection to enable us realize our maximum potential,” he said.
Speaking to the media in his office on Tuesday, the county executive disclosed that a valuation roll which outlines various rates for land within the region has been finalized and will soon be tabled in the assembly for approval.
The reviewed rates, he said, will help boost revenue since the current payments were based on an old valuation used by the defunct municipal council.
Last year, the county government in collaboration with Strathmore University introduced a cashless revenue collection system to curb pilferage of funds but very little progress has been realized.
Achar attributed the poor collection to inadequate Point of Sale (POS) kits saying only 100 were in use making it impossible to cover the whole county.
He added that poor network coverage at far-flung corners of the county affected the process, since the devices were unable to work, adding that the county had engaged telecommunication firms to boost the signal.
To enhance efficiency, the County Government has allocated Sh.21 million this financial year to procure 400 additional POS kits, he added.
They have also organized a revenue collection drive to kick off on 18th October 2019.The drive to be spearheaded by the Governor, Prof. Anyang Nyong’o targets to accelerate revenue collection across the county to help achieve a target of Sh.3 billion by the end of this financial year.
“We are going to have all county government workers involved in the exercise including the Governor himself to accelerate collection,” he said.
By Chris Mahandara