The Task Force on revenue enhancement in Garissa County has identified gaps in revenue collection and documented cases of glaring inefficacy in the handling of revenue.
The six-member task force that was appointed in October last year and which was headed by Chief Officer for Lands, Sirat Aden also made far-reaching recommendations for implementation, including focus on property tax as key revenue earner.
The report was tabled on Tuesday during a meeting of Chief Officers convened by County Secretary (CS), Abdi Ali
The report suggests better facilitation of revenue officers especially in transportation and remuneration to achieve higher targets and immediate stoppage of payment of revenue in cash and instead the revenue payment be made directly to the county bank accounts or using pay bill numbers.
All revenue officers, including those working in hospitals and municipalities should be answerable to the Department of Revenue and all transactions must be strictly recorded to allow for transparency and accountability, the taskforce recommended.
The report also recommends that the use of LAIFOMS system at Lands, Urban and Municipality for purposes of revenue management be stopped forthwith as it was open to abuse.
The report further suggested the need to engage qualified young professionals in revenue collection to stamp out cartels that have developed roots over the years.
The county government should also streamline revenue collection for mining gypsum and other minerals as well as sand harvesting.
Tax payment should be encouraged and the county government should introduce a reward for institutions that demonstrated high level of integrity in tax payment.
The CS said that government has also taken measures to collect revenue from Safaricom masts spread across Garissa County.
Speaking after receiving the report, Ali urged residents to cooperate and pay their taxes ‘in time and without being pushed to do so as has been the case’.
“The residents should know that for them to continue enjoying service rendered to them then they must be ready to cooperate by paying taxes,” Ali said.
“And because at the end of the day the same money they pay goes towards improving services, we can do little or nothing without money,” he added.
The county secretary said his administration will adopt urgent measures to streamline revenue collection by addressing glaring gaps identified in revenue department.
Ali said the report had captured certain grey areas that needed immediate attention hence government will pronounce itself in coming weeks to stem the tide of losses witnessed in the past.
Other members of the task-force, included Chief Officers, Mahat Salah (Trade), Hassan Anshur (Revenue), Hussein Farah (Public Works), Abdirahman Shalle (Garissa Municipality) and County Attorney, Ismail Aden.
By Jacob Songok