Kanga High School in Migori County has become the first Tax Centre of Excellence in Western Kenya in a programme to help Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) promote compliance among Kenyans.
Through the school tax club project, students will be expected to champion public sensitisation on matters of tax in a bid to achieve community outreach for igniting and retaining interest in tax compliance among a special demographic of school going and youthful population.
According to KRA Western Region Coordinator Mrs Pamela Ahago, the school outreach programme would go a long way in bridging the gap between citizens who are unaware of their tax obligations and those who are aware but non-compliance.
Speaking during the official launch of the Western Kenya Centre of excellence at Kanga School in Rongo Sub-County, Ahago explained that the project was part of the KRA strategic goals to boost tax collection in the country.
She said KRA was keen on implementing a project that would educate high school students and the general public on basic taxation and especially the benefits of compliance.
The officer noted that Kenya was currently bleeding badly from both internal and cross-border tax abuse, leading to loss of huge revenue, a situation that the school tax programme would remedy by significantly developing a tax compliant culture due to the prospects of integrating tax studies into national curriculum.
“The strategic advantage of access and mastery of tax subject by students while still in school, before plunging into employment, will instill a sense of responsibility to paying taxes and holding government to account for taxes paid,” said Mrs Ahago.
She said the Authority was investing in a few educational institutions countrywide and was designating them as Centre of Excellence in taxation.
These institutions, she pointed out, would be supported by KRA for various calendared activities ranging from debates, Symposia, tax talks and writing competitions among other activities.
In addition, KRA will provide adequate tax information to the Centre of excellence which will in turn be mandated to put in place a constellation of activities, aimed at empowering and disseminating tax knowledge among other neighbouring institutions.
Ahago said that KRA will also ensure quality programme is provided by monitoring the centre’s reach, performance and calendar implementation.
The KRA boss underscored the importance of people paying taxes promptly, saying this allowed the country to grow her infrastructure, develop well her health and education sectors besides paying promptly salaries and wages to her civil services employees, teachers and security men and women.
“It is immoral for anyone to evade or take the route of avoiding paying taxes. And it is wrong for one to intentionally and or un-intentionally remain ignorant about issues regarding tax payment,” she said and cited why it was prudent for the authority to bring on board the school tax clubs to assist in propagating the tax gospel to the masses.
By George Agimba